CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
SEVEN-YEAR-OLD Justine Mutale junior of Kitwe was born with his feet twisted out of position.
His condition which is medically called Clubfoot is a result of tissues connecting muscles to the bone being shorter than usual making it hard for a person to walk normally.
His parents tried seeking help from different medical institutions but all to no avail.
It was at a time when they decided to live with his condition last year that a solution to their problem came their way.
His father Justine Mutale who is a business man while working met a friend who told him that his son could start walking normally if he took him to Beit Cure Hospital in Lusaka.
“After my friend told me about the hospital, I shared it with my wife but she ruled out the idea of travelling to Lusaka saying there was no possibility of Justine being healed,” Mr Mutale says.
He said “I still decided to try despite my wife discouraging me and managed to organise some money with the help of my friends for transport to Lusaka”.
Mr Mutale travelled on a Sunday and arrived at Beit Cure Hospital around 19:00 hours.
“The nurses were very helpful and gave us a place to sleep until Monday morning when we registered and Justine was made to undergo different kinds of tests. I was asked to wait until Thursday when my son would be taken to the theatre for surgery. Just the wonderful reception gave me hope,” he says.
When Thursday came, Justine underwent surgery and he came back looking better though his legs still did not seem to be entirely in position at the moment.
“After some days when his bandages were removed, I started noticing some changes in his way of walking and that is when I started thanking God trusting that my son was going to be completely healed,” says Mr Mutale.
Mr Mutale and Justine were then sent home and asked to travel back to Lusaka after a month.
He has been following instructions by the doctors for the past one year three months and as things stand now, Justine’s legs are straight and he is able to walk normally.
“I am so grateful to this hospital for helping my son. All through this period I have not paid any money because their services have been free of charge. They have been giving us food, shelter and all we need to sustain ourselves during the period that we stay in the hospital since I am required to bring him for review every after some time,” Mr Mutale says.
Justine is just but among the many children who have been made whole again at Beit Cure Hospital as it conducts about 35 free surgeries a week on children.
Being a charitable institution funded by donations from the United States of America (USA), Beit Cure Hospital conducts surgeries on children up to the age of 18 at no cost.
Surgeries conducted include orthopaedic, ear, nose and throat surgery and provides hearing aids and cardiology testing services, among others.
It also caters for physical and speech therapy and x-ray services.
Beit Cure Hospital only carries out surgeries on about five adult patients weekly under a moderate pricing structure.
The institution is privileged to have internationally trained anaesthesia artists and micro doctors qualified in paediatric anaesthesia and clubfoot treatment, among others.
Beit Cure Hospital executive director Steve Hitt says all surgeries conducted at the hospital are scheduled.
“We do not attend to emergency operations like maybe patients coming in with traumatic injuries and from accidents. All our surgeries are scheduled which gives our doctors time to carry out thorough examinations on the patient and ascertain their condition and their appointment time is never interrupted,” Mr Hitt said.
He says 70 percent of the patients attended to at Beit Cure Hospital are from within Lusaka, while 30 percent come from other parts of the country.
Mr Hitt said the only challenge the hospital is facing is getting the message to people that all services for children are free.
He says the hospital is fully staffed with 114 employees and patients are assured of good hospitality and care.
“We do not charge for our services offered to children up to the age of 18 and whoever comes here with the child is also given free accommodation and three meals a day. All they have to pay for is their way to get here and to go back home,” he said.
Mr Hitt said the longest period patients stay in the hospital is about seven days though those from far places or children with clubfoot may stay up to a month.
Mr Hitt said people need to understand that Beit Cure Hospital is a charity institution whose aim is to better their lives.
He said there is a teacher in the children’s ward to provide education such as colouring, art, spelling and math basics every evening also at no cost as most kids who are faced with disability challenges miss out a lot on school.
The hospital has a spiritual department and people are ministered to with the gospel of God.
“We balance, it is just as important as we offer excellent medical care as it is to preach the gospel of God to patients, and the hospital is open 24 hours a day. We want people to come through,” he said.
The door is open for every parent who could be having a child with a disability from any part of the country.