During a recent visit to Tenwek Hospital, Dr. David Hoover, president of Friends of Tenwek, reflected on all that has been accomplished since FOT’s founding. Over the last five years, FOT supporters have helped Tenwek Hospital meet numerous mission-critical needs, including medical priorities, chaplaincy and nursing school programs, community health initiatives, and missionary needs.
Russell E. White, MD, FACS, MPH, chief of surgery and surgery residency director at Tenwek Hospital, has been named the recipient of The L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service. The $500,000 award funds will be used at Tenwek to train cardiac surgeons in heart valve repairs and for the treatment of esophageal cancer, tuberculosis, and other chronic diseases. It also will pay for ultrasound screenings and antibiotics for local students to prevent strep infections from causing heart damage. Read the NY Times story here.
Dr White was previously honored by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) with the 2012 Surgical Humanitarian Award.
Dr. White, a member of the Tenwek staff since 1997, specializes in esophageal cancer, the most common malignancy in Kenya. His expertise – which includes a caseload of approximately 2,000 patients and extensive research on the etiology, screening, and treatment of the disease – has helped Tenwek become the busiest center in Kenya for the palliative and curative treatment of esophageal cancer.
Photo Credit: John Jumbi/AMHF
With construction sounds filling the air, the excitement is building in Bomet as residents look forward to the opening of Tenwek Hospital’s new outpatient clinic, the Bomet Annex. Conveniently located at the site of a former nursing home, the facility has been completely renovated to meet the area’s immediate, emerging, and future outpatient medical needs.
The need for a city-based clinic is urgent. The hospital’s outpatient clinic treats, on average, 430 patients each day. It often takes the entire day for patients to be registered and evaluated, undergo tests, receive care, and be discharged. As one nurse explained, “Our work is never done. No matter how many people we see today, tomorrow we will be full again.”
A physician at Tenwek concurs, “We continue to be extremely crowded with long queues and long waiting times here in Tenwek Hospital Outpatient. It will be a great blessing for the Bomet Annex to open as soon as possible to serve many of these patients.”
When working people in Bomet experience illness or injury, they would like to receive the quality care Tenwek Hospital is known for. But they cannot afford to sacrifice a day’s work and pay to visit the main hospital clinic. As a result, they are missing the great opportunity for physical and spiritual healing that Tenwek offers.
The Bomet Annex will provide a full range of outpatient services in a convenient venue, attracting new patients while helping relieve congestion and improve efficiency at the hospital. Just as Tenwek’s regional network of dispensaries delivers compassionate care in Christ’s name to people where they live, the Bomet Annex will embody Tenwek’s mission and work in that city.
Funds Needed to Reach the Finish Line
Since 2014, Friends of Tenwek has already raised and invested $150,433 to help Tenwek Hospital purchase, renovate, and begin to equip the Bomet Annex clinic. This support has included acquisition of the land and facility, extensive renovations, and purchase of x-ray equipment. With the end of the project in sight, FOT is dedicated to raising $56,000 before the close of the 2017 calendar year.
After acquiring the property, Tenwek administrators made the strategic decision to conduct extensive repairs and renovations that would allow the facility to expand as needed. Rather than simply occupy the existing space, they developed a construction plan that created numerous examination and treatment rooms for patient privacy, diagnostic and laboratory service spaces, and administrative offices for medical professionals and chaplains. Future phases of the 1.2 acre site will accommodate additional services currently not available in Bomet, including counseling, mortuary, chapel, and community health.
In addition to creating all-new clinical spaces, renovation challenges have included the need to level the structure, which had an eight-inch difference in floor height from end to end, and the removal and replacement of the facility’s roof. While the work has caused some unanticipated delays, the finish line is in sight. The construction supervisor reports, “Every day, people are asking, ‘when will it be finished? Why is it taking so long? We want it open now!’”
Tenwek CEO Geoffrey Langat is just as eager to open the facility. “The Tenwek Hospital Bomet Annex will provide an opportunity to expand our services closer to where people are living and working,” he explains. “They will be able even to walk to get care, which will be comparable to that delivered at the Tenwek Hospital main campus. This meets our mission goal of quality service through healthcare as ministry in Christ’s name.”
FOT Board Secretary-Treasurer Don Hoover (center) visits the Bomet Annex in July 2017 with Geoffrey Langat, Tenwek Hospital CEO (left) and Dr. Stephen Burgert, Tenwek Hospital’s Medical Superintendent (right).
For most of his life, Rev. David Kilel has been devoted to the spiritual needs of Tenwek’s patients and their families. He was the hospital’s first full-time chaplain, serving for many years alongside Dr. Ernie Steury, the tireless physician who grew a rural clinic into one of the world’s premier mission hospitals.
Today, Rev. Kilel is the director of The Tenwek Hospital International School of Chaplaincy. As he looks ahead to passing on the leadership baton, he is as excited as ever by the possibilities he sees for the Gospel to be preached by trained chaplains throughout Kenya and across Africa.
He grew up about 30 kilometers from Tenwek and was just eight years old when he first heard the Gospel. After attending high school, Rev. Kilel thought about joining the army, “but the Lord said ‘no’,” he recalls. Instead, he remembers the exact time and date – Wednesday, April 24, 1971 at 4 p.m. – “when the Lord called me to Kenya Highlands Bible College. People from my church each gave one to five schillings to help pay for one year of school.” Janitorial work and more support from a school principal prompted by God helped pay for the rest of his education.
In 1975, the Africa Gospel Church appointed Rev. Kilel as the hospital’s full-time chaplain and he met Dr. Steury, who became a close mentor and friend. Together, the two men agreed that no patient would ever leave Tenwek Hospital without hearing about Jesus. They also shared a vision for establishing a school that would train men and women how to serve as chaplains “at the bedside and beyond.”
The dream was nurtured through the years, even as Rev. Kilel led chapel services and staff devotionals, preached and planted churches, and trained a growing staff how to follow-up and visit the Tenwek patients and family members who were being saved every week, everywhere. Serving alongside him is his wife, Esther, who has led the women’s ministry for eight local churches. The Kilel’s have two sons and two daughters.
A Vision Realized
In 1989, Rev. Kilel graduated from the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. In 1991, the dream he shared with Dr. Steury became a reality. With some early funding provided by Samaritan’s Purse, Tenwek Hospital L. Nelson Bell Chaplaincy School became first school of its kind in Kenya, focused not only on biblical training, but also ministering to the whole person and helping people through sickness and bereavement. The program expanded its scope of training so that graduates of the chaplaincy program are prepared to work in various settings including hospitals, schools, colleges, prisons, and the armed forces. Nearly 200 chaplains from more than 10 African nations have graduated from the school.
Rev. Dean Cowles, FOT Field Director, helped Rev. Kilel open the school when Dean and his wife, Dr. Cheryl Cowles, first served at Tenwek. “Rev. Kilel pioneered the work of hospital chaplaincy in Kenya and much of Africa. In addition to starting many churches, he has been a mentor to hundreds of pastors and church leaders over the years,” notes Dean.
After four decades of service and preparing to retire, Rev. Kilel is not a man to rest on his accomplishments. The need, he believes, is greater than ever. FOT funds are supporting a team of academic consultants who are currently restructuring the curriculum. Rev. Kilel has prayed often over a piece of land adjacent to Tenwek where he envisions the construction of a spacious new school – a blessed training ground for many more students from across Africa in the years to come.
The Faith Fund Special Needs was birthed just one year ago by FOT to help support the new Special Needs Clinic at Tenwek which is serving children age 18 and under. Since then, more than $17,000 has been raised to help fund clinic visits, physiotherapy, and equipment distributed in the Special Needs Clinic. Thank you – your gifts are making an impact!
The clinic is the realization of a dream for Tenwek physical therapist Solomon Rop, who has a heart to serve the estimated 300 children with disabilities in Bomet County. Typically in Kenyan culture, children born with deformities and/or disabilities are often regarded as “cursed” and consequently hidden away in their homes without healthcare, socialization, or education. The GREAT news is that this misconception is now changing.
In the past year, Tenwek’s Special Needs Clinic has evaluated and started treatment for 87 children. This life changing help has included:
- Distribution of 26 wheelchairs and 8 pediatric walkers to children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy
- Providing therapy and serial casting for clubfoot deformity
- Providing 6 new prosthetic legs
- Creation and distribution of re-usable diapers to children with incontinence
Ripples of Hope
The ripples from this compassionate care extend to the families of these children as the clinic has become a place where mothers can socialize, support, and encourage each other as they share the challenges and burdens of raising children with disabilities. Many children, equipped with assistive devices, are able to attend school now for the first time. This gives caregivers a chance to pursue work or other activities that benefit their families.
There were endless smiles on the day these four children from the Bomet Hostel for Special Needs received their new prostheses – made at Tenwek – and walked for the first time since losing limbs! Children, left to right: Deborah, Mercy, Amos, Rose. Staff, left to right: Tanner Claridge (short-term volunteer prosthetist), Sister Emmy (children’s caregiver), Solomon Rop, and Nicholas Ngeno (both physical therapy department staff)
The health of the children is improving and bedsores are healing as they sit on specialized seating devices and cushions. There are fewer infections in the spina bifida population because they are no longer crawling in the dirt but ambulating independently with assistive devices. The confidence and self-esteem of these children is higher as they realize a greater sense of dignity and purpose alongside their developmental peers.
Obviously, the clinic is bursting at its seams with a flood of new patients and many more expected. There are dreams for expanding the facility, adding an occupational therapist and another prosthetist, and furnishing the prosthetic lab with new equipment. The Special Needs Clinic at Tenwek is truly a place where the staff serves as the hands and feet of Christ to deliver compassionate care to the most vulnerable of children.
To see a 10-year-old take her first-ever steps, or watch former amputees discard their crutches and begin to race with one another brings indescribable joy. It is a privilege to see God’s hand of provision to make “the lame to walk.”
You can make a contribution to the Faith Fund for Special Needs by using the secure, online donation form here. On the drop down menu for “Please Use This Gift” choose Faith Fund for Special Needs to designate your gift.
This spring, Friends of Tenwek Inc (FOT) celebrated its five-year anniversary of support for the ministries of Tenwek Hospital.
As the ministries of Tenwek Hospital have grown dramatically over the past five years, the Lord has enabled FOT to expand its support. During FOT’s formation phase and subsequent incorporation in March 2012, donors have made over $1,177,000 available to support Tenwek Hospital, its Nursing and Chaplaincy Schools, Tenwek Community Health and Development., and specific missionary ministries.
FOT has worked in full collaboration with Tenwek Hospital administrators to identify funding needs. Major projects that were supported by FOT include: developing the infrastructure for the CT scanner; installation of the HMIS medical records system; construction of the Nursing School dining hall; scholarships for Surgical Residency students; purchase of radiology equipment, including two ultrasound machines; seed money for the Bomet Annex; creation of the Faith Fund for Special Needs; and purchase of an oxygen compressor, incubator, and Stryker stretches. In addition, FOT has raised critical funds to support the International Chaplaincy School and the Orphan Mercy Fund.
Each year since incorporation, FOT has reduced expenses as we endeavor to be a good steward of the resources FOT donors so generously provide. Through an all-volunteer staff and cost control measures, the expense-to-income ratio was 18% for the 5-year period and was 8.5% for 2016. Last year, more than 91 cents of every dollar was designated for ministries at Tenwek Hospital.
FOT’s investment in the diagnostic radiology program at Tenwek Hospital includes new equipment and assistance from visiting physicians on-site and through teleradiology services.
When FOT was formed, a priority goal was to build a community of doctors in the United States who would continue to engage their Time, Talent, and Treasure in the ministries of Tenwek Hospital. FOT is excited that, to date, 10 healthcare professionals have stepped forward as Champions for their specific medical specialties. They are recruiting their peers through personal contact and by providing news and information on the FOT Website. Through their dedicated work, we are reaching our goal.
Today, when short-term medical staff and family members arrive at Tenwek, a volunteer FOT Intern becomes a friend to welcome them, answer questions and advise them about the many ministry opportunities. Our volunteer FOT Field Director also is available on-site to assist volunteers.
An Exciting Future
The prospects for the future expansion of ministries at Tenwek Hospital are indeed very bright. Building on the founding principle of Tenwek Hospital, expressed in the motto “We Treat …Jesus Heals,” Rev. Elijah Bii is now leading the spiritual emphasis of the entire hospital. An International Chaplaincy School is in the planning stages. The Bomet Annex, a much needed satellite expansion of Tenwek’s outpatient services within the municipal area of Bomet, is now under construction and scheduled to open later this year.
The Strategic Plan for Tenwek Hospital anticipates the addition of 200 beds which will grow the hospital to 500 beds. There are17 medical residents in training currently, with the goal of having 30 residents in training. The College of Health Sciences (formerly the School of Nursing) is now recognized as one of the top nursing schools in Kenya and is preparing for significant growth. And Tenwek Community Health and Development initiatives are transforming communities as leaders are trained in holistic ministry.
YOU are, and will continue to be, a vital part of the US-Tenwek Community through your continued support for FOT. THANK YOU for being engaged in all God is doing and has planned for the future of Tenwek Hospital.
Friends of Tenwek is stepping forward to create a unique partnership with Tenwek Hospital with a singular goal in mind – to bring Tenwek’s healing mission and Gospel message to the growing city of Bomet that is home to more than 110,000 people.
Tenwek has purchased a former nursing home facility in an “ideal” location for visibility and access in the bustling city – near numerous government and business offices, a teacher’s college, and several banks. The renovated building will soon be the new home of the Bomet Annex, an outpatient clinic designed to bring the same quality, compassionate care delivered at the hospital to residents in the city.
FOT previously committed $40,000 as seed money to launch the project in 2015. In a sign of how strategically important the project is to Tenwek, the hospital has committed funds from its operational budget to restore and equip the facility. Renovations to date have included a new roof, redesigned exam rooms, floor repairs, new windows, and the widening of the access ramp. The cost to fully renovate and equip the clinic is $280,000. FOT’s priority for 2017 is to raise $100,000 which will be used to “match” an equal investment Tenwek is making to open the clinic.
For some time, Tenwek’s outpatient clinic has been under pressure to expand. The hospital clinic treats, on average, 430 patients each day. It often takes most of the day for patients to be registered and evaluated, undergo tests, receive care, and be discharged. As one nurse recently explained, “Our work is never done. No matter how many people we see today, tomorrow we will be full again.” Doctors have expressed frustration that opportunities to pray with patients sometimes can be limited due to the volume and pace of activity.
The outpatient clinic location is one of the few areas in the hospital that has never been renovated. As a result, today’s patient load has created a significant space constraint in the facility. The conditions being treated also have become more complex. In addition to acute and sub-acute care, patients require ongoing care for chronic conditions and disease management; the most common include high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, heart disease, and malignancies.
Opportunity for Eternal Impact
The time and space challenges in the clinic at Tenwek have discouraged working people in Bomet from visiting the hospital for urgent or chronic care. When they experience illness or injury, they would like to receive the quality care Tenwek Hospital is known for. But they simply cannot afford to sacrifice a day’s work and pay to visit the hospital clinic. They are missing the great opportunity for physical and spiritual healing that Tenwek offers.
The Bomet Annex will provide a full range of outpatient services in a convenient location – an attractive and accessible new venue for delivering compassionate care in Christ’s name. The new clinic will help relieve congestion and improve efficiency at the hospital clinic. It also will attract new patients who will receive both exceptional medical care and the opportunity to hear the Gospel message. In much the same way that Tenwek’s regional network of dispensaries has brought medical care and spiritual hope to people where they live, the Bomet Annex will embody Tenwek’s mission and work in the city in an exciting new way.
The clinic is scheduled to open in June. The need is to improve and expand the hospital’s outpatient services is urgent. Your opportunity to meet that need is now. You gift today can have eternal impact.
You can make a gift here, using our secure, online donation form. On the donation drop down menu for “Please Use This Gift” choose Bomet Annex to designate your gift.
Friends of Tenwek Inc.
Friends of Tenwek is accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
Tenwek Hospital Mission
Friends of Tenwek
Friends of Tenwek is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. We are committed to advancing the mission of Tenwek Hospital by fostering communication among U.S. physicians who have served at Tenwek and by soliciting tax-deductible donations in support of Tenwek’s medical, spiritual, and educational objectives. All gifts are tax deductible up to the limits of the law. Federal Tax ID #: 45-4817136.
Designation of Gifts
Friends of Tenwek Inc. (FOT) sets meaningful and achievable fundraising goals in support of Tenwek Hospital. When the gifts received for a designated project or program exceed the identified need or fall so short that the project cannot be fulfilled, the FOT Board of Directors will use its discretion to redirect the funds to another, similar area of need at Tenwek Hospital.