Pray for Tenwek Hospital

Many of you have asked about the impact of COVID-19 at Tenwek Hospital and how you can help. We recently received the following list of prayer requests from Tenwek Hospital’s Medical Director and Acting President.

Please join us in prayer for the needs listed below. We have opened an FOT “Prayer Room” where you can sign up for a slot of time to pray for Tenwek during September.


• Sufficient measures to curb the pandemic in Kenya to prevent hospitals, nation-wide, from becoming overwhelmed
• Adequate rest and peace for our entire Tenwek Hospital staff
• Ability and authorization to perform COVID-19 testing on-site at Tenwek Hospital
• National Health Insurance Fund recognition of Tenwek Hospital as a designated facility to deliver COVID-19 care, which will permit reimbursement for such care
• Adequate funds for the increasing staffing needs at Tenwek Hospital
• Ability to purchase sufficient numbers of N95 masks (about 1,000 per month) of adequate quality to appropriately protect staff members and patients
• Smooth and safe resumption of service by visiting physicians
• The Lord’s protection for our staff members from serious illness


Tenwek Hospital COVID-19 Update-September

So much has happened since April 2, when FOT’s President Dr. David Hoover sent out an appeal to assist Tenwek Hospital in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful for the prompt and very, very generous response from FOT as “our friend indeed” during our “time of need.”

CHACU Dedicaton-located in the former Maternal Child Health

Through the donations from FOT partners and others, we were able to provide care to patients in the newly remodeled 6-bed isolation unit until the remodeled 21-bed COVID-19 Holding Area & Care Unit (CHACU) was ready “just in time” in mid-July. FOT’s donation of crucial funds allowed us to purchase and install the large oxygen generator to supply oxygen to each of the 27 beds. Three of the beds in CHACU can provide ICU level care, including ventilator support.

We praise God for His provision and protection during this season. He allowed us over four months for preparation between the first case in Kenya on March 13th and Tenwek Hospital’s first case on July 22nd. As a country, Kenya’s cases of COVID-19 have increased to over 30,000 with approximately 15,000 recoveries and nearly 600 deaths.

Prepared and Not Scared

The hospital staff members (over 900 strong!) have now been educated and re-educated on COVID-19, each with the appropriate training for their department. During those four months, the Tenwek Hospital staff cared for many patients who were suspected to possibly have COVID-19. These were serious “dress rehearsals” with 96 negative tests before the first positive test at Tenwek. We learned a lot from those valuable opportunities, and we refined our protocols for COVID-19 care.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with gown produced by Tenwek Hospital tailoring, face shield constructed by Tenwek missionary families, and a purchased N95 mask.

In addition to developing Standard Operating Procedures, we learned how very important it was for us to have our five Tenwek Hospital counselors on-call 24/7 to serve staff members, patients and families.

Thus far we have diagnosed COVID-19 for 17 Tenwek Hospital patients, of which five unfortunately arrived late in their course of illness and passed away within three days of admission. All but two of the COVID-19 patients who received inpatient care at Tenwek have been discharged to home-based isolation care – including one mother with a new baby! Currently, two COVID-19 patients are being treated in-hospital, and there are no other patients in the CHACU who are awaiting COVID-19 test results. Praise God!

As of this date, Tenwek Hospital has obtained test samples for a total of 202 individuals, of which 163 were for patients and 39 were for staff members. We just received confirmation last month that after many years our Tenwek Hospital Laboratory is now ISO certified and we are considering the possibility that Tenwek Hospital could be an authorized COVID-19 testing facility. This would improve safe and efficient use of hospital resources, would improve healthcare worker availability, and would be a blessing to reduce the community spread of COVID-19 through prompt contact tracing.

We praise God that, as of today, we have no COVID-19 cases diagnosed among our Tenwek Hospital healthcare workers. Kindly join us in prayer that the Lord’s shield of protection would remain in place for our care givers to have no serious illness, physical fatigue, or emotional fatigue.

Impact of Travel Restrictions

Multiple long-term missionary physicians are away from Tenwek Hospital at this time, which unfortunately has coincided with visiting doctors not being able to come to serve at Tenwek Hospital. We are grateful that international travel has now resumed to Kenya and we are seeking responsible ways to best integrate visiting physicians into our staffing at Tenwek Hospital in a manner that minimizes risks to patients and co-workers. We also pray for favor as the expatriate Kenya Medical Licensing process has become much more expensive and complicated.

Tenwek Hospital runs the College of Health Sciences and the School of Chaplaincy. In accordance to the regulations passed to us from the Government, we have had to close these two institutions because of COVID-19 in Kenya. We recently launched e-learning to enable the students to learn even while they stay at home.

The generosity of our Friends of Tenwek partners is appreciated even more as we recognize the personal financial challenges that many individuals are facing around the globe. Thank you for standing with us…. even if we are 6 feet or thousands of miles away from one another.

Asante sana!
Thank you very much!

Dr. Steve Burgert
Medical Superintendent of Tenwek Hospital

Shem Tangus
Acting CEO of Tenwek Hospital

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

TCHD’s Hygiene Mission is More Important than Ever

Tenwek’s Community Health & Development program (TCHD) has a long history of promoting clean water and safe sanitation programs. Since 1992, TCHD has helped 119 schools in Bomet and Kericho Counties of Kenya improve their water facilities and hygiene practices.

With the onset of COVID-19 adding new urgency to promoting handwashing, a generous FOT donor has stepped forward to provide up to $25,000 to sponsor liquid soap-making workshops in the community. Under the program, TCHD provides the supplies and training to equip community members to make the soap, which is then provided to area schools, clinics, and residents as an alternative to purchasing expensive bar soap. Church leaders who participated in TCHD’s recent COVID-19 training were encouraged to introduce the soap-making program in their own communities.

Jonathan Bii, TCHD’s Program Director, notes that three teams are conducting daily outreach in various parts of Bomet, Kericho, Narok, and Nakura counties. Activities include using a mobile public address system to broadcast COVID-19 prevention messages, distribution of the liquid soap, and hand-washing demonstrations.

To date, more than 1200 liters of soap have been distributed and training has been extended to multiple groups, including a Bomet prison. As hoped for, demand and use of the liquid soap is very high. Mr. Bii expects to expand the soap making workshops in schools and prisons as more communities in the area learn of this economical use of local resources.

FOT Funds TCHD’s COVID-19 Response Program for Church Leaders

Jonathan Bii is the Program Director for Tenwek’s Community Health & Development program (TCHD); its mission is “to serve Christ by facilitating change through Primary Health Care and appropriate development within needy communities.”

With the onset quarantine restrictions – which include a national curfew and church, school, and business closures – Mr. Bii has noted a rise “a lot of fears, anxiety, hopelessness and worries among the population.” As other institutions are overwhelmed by the crisis, Mr. Bii says, “The church has been seen by all as the only hope provider. The church knows who to run to – God.”

In the last three months, with support from Friends of Tenwek, TCHD has helped 189 church leaders from 147 congregations in Bomet, Kericho, and Narok counties to build knowledge and capacity to lead their communities’ response to COVID-19. The special training covered trauma debriefing; prevention of COVID-19 in the family and community; care of church members during the pandemic; mobilizing church members to demonstrate love and care for their neighbors; and mobilizing church members for consistent prayer during this crisis.

The leaders were commissioned to be facilitators in their communities, leading by example to model safe social distancing, facemask wearing, and regular hand washing. Each participant also received COVID 19 literature to distribute to their churches. As a result of the training, pastors have actively engaged with their communities through home visits, helped their congregations observe health protocols when they meet in home churches, and conducted soap-making workshops

Mr. Bii is grateful for the generous FOT donor support that made this creative and timely “integrated ministry outreach” possible, noting it is yet another example of how TCHD continues to pursue its mission by equipping the Church to be a source of hope to the people of the Greater Bomet region.

New Staff Coats Promote Pride, Professionalism, Team Spirit

Tenwek recently distributed new white staff coats – provided by FOT – to Tenwek’s physicians, medical officers, and clinical officers. Each person received two coats that are embroidered with the individual’s name and department. The Tenwek Hospital logo appears above the breast pocket and the FOT logo appears on the left shoulder.

“I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to FOT for providing funds for the beautiful branded white coats. I know they will enhance our team spirit and patient/family recognition of Tenwek Hospital care providers,” noted Dr. Steve Burgert, Tenwek’s Medical Superintendent.

Festus Korir, Tenwek’s Human Resource Director, noted that the staff are “looking sharp” in the new coats. “This will go a long way in promoting our brand policy and at the same time a sense of accountability in our work.”

Hospital CEO Shem Tangus agreed. “I join my colleagues to express our deepest gratitude for this support. Our staff are really grateful that FOT agreed to give support towards these white coats.”

FOT Board Welcomes New Member

Each year, the FOT Board is pleased to welcome a full-time missionary doctor from Tenwek to serve on its Board of Directors during the time that individual is on leave in the United States. The person filling this seat annually brings important perspective, insight, and experience to Board deliberations.

This year, the Board has been pleased to welcome Dino Crognale, M.D. to this position. Dino’s specialty is Family Medicine and he serves in multiple roles at Tenwek. He is the chair of medical education and leads Tenwek’s Family Medicine Residency Program. He is also the director of Emergency Medicine (Casualty) at Tenwek and heads the Cardiac Ultrasound unit.

Dino’s wife, Janice, is also a Family Medicine physician and works part-time at Tenwek. They have three children, ages 8, 12, and 18. The family answered the call to full-time mission work at Tenwek 12 years ago.


Thoughtful Collaboration Helps Tenwek’s Special Needs Children

Penny Hage and Solomon Rop, founder of Tenwek’s Special Needs Clinic, on a home visit to a SNC patient.

Occupational Therapist Penny Hage, MS, OTR/L, was instrumental in establishing FOT’s Faith Fund, which supports the operations of Tenwek’s Special Needs Clinic (SNC). As the FOT Champion for the SNC, Penny and her husband, orthopedic surgeon Bill Hage, M.D., have raised critical funds that pay for general therapy assessment and treatment, developmental devices, wheelchairs, braces, prosthesis, crutches, and special seating for Tenwek patients with special needs.

During her last trip to Tenwek, Penny visited Heshima Children’s Center in Nairobi, a model facility that offers compassionate therapy, education, and care for children with disabilities and their families. Heshima means “dignity” in Swahili and, like Penny, the staff there believe “that Jesus Christ has a special purpose filled with dignity for children with special needs in Kenya.”

Heshima’s Dignity Designs store sells a variety of products hand-made by the mothers of the children they serve. This provides the women with the dignity of work with a monthly income and assistance with health care. Penny has purchased multiple shipments of colorful beaded bracelets – as favors for her birthday fundraising party and to re-sell – with all proceeds going to the Faith Fund. To date, Penny has raised nearly $8,000 of support for the SNC through this thoughtful collaboration.

“The sweet thing about this partnership is that it not only supports SNC but it also supports the moms of Heshima and Dignity Designs,” explains Penny.

Your gift will make a life-changing difference for special needs children at Tenwek. Use the secure online form HERE.


New Digital Radiology System Advances Patient Care at Tenwek

Patient care at Tenwek took another giant leap forward with the advent of a new Digital Radiology System. FOT donors provided $170,000 for the innovative technology that provides X-rays with better image quality, requires less radiation, and reduces processing time from three minutes to six seconds.
This results in shorter waiting times for patients and increased efficiency that will triple the capacity of existing machines. A sincere Thank You to everyone who contributed to the ART Fund (Advancing Radiology at Tenwek) to make this technology possible!

Janie Leland Named FOT Associate Director of Development

Janie Leland, FOT’s current Ambassador, has been named Associate Director of Development. This role is responsible for coordinating FOT’s fundraising, marketing and communication activities. Janie returned to the U.S. earlier this year due to the global pandemic and has been working closely with Don Hoover, Director of Development. As the FOT Ambassador, Janie lived in Kenya for almost a year and made essential connections with U.S. physicians, welcoming visitors into the FOT family. While at Tenwek, she hosted visiting staff and families at the guesthouse and provided information and insights about ministry opportunities within the Tenwek community.

In her new role, Janie will continue to advance the mission of FOT through building donor relationships, managing strategic communications and coordinating fundraising efforts. She will also support the work of FOT Champions and be responsible for gift processing and database management.

Originally from Tarboro, North Carolina, Janie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. She is not new to the Tenwek community; in 1990, Janie’s parents lived and worked at Tenwek Hospital as newlyweds, then returned with their children in 2002 for a short-term trip.

“In all my contacts with supporters of Tenwek, one thing I always find to be true – each person loves Tenwek Hospital and is thrilled to support its ministries,” Janie notes. “Thank you for your generous hearts and eagerness to connect to the work of the hospital and the Tenwek community. I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of this team and part of FOT’s important mission.”