We, Verena Brekle, Saskia Deising, Julia Färber and Constantin Thieme are a group of German medical students. Currently we are working as interns in the University Teaching Hospital of Butare in Rwanda. In this setting, we find a fundamental difference between the treatment of patients in Europe and Northern America: here, it is possible to die of starvation in the hospital.
We know the predominant disease patterns mostly from books and their medical care often begins late - due to financial and logistic reasons. Manifold deficits bring well-educated African and international physicians to their professional limits. Although there is a health care system being partly borne by NGOs, scarce resources do not cover basic needs such as nutrition. The patients and their families are responsible for their food. If they do not have enough money, live too far away, or in case of not having relatives, which appears often due to HIV/AIDS or the Genocide, the patient does not get any food during his or her hospital stay. We frequently encounter patients who could survive their illness, but who die of malnutrition under medical surveillance! We can barely stand a situation which can easily be changed. This is why we need your support!
In the beginning we collected money from donations here in Butare and created a list with the poorest and most malnourished patients on the surgical ward. With support of the hospital social services, we were able to provide food for 19 patients from the hospital canteen. And it worked! The patients were provided with warm and nutritious meals. We were just as happy as our patients to see how easy it was to change the patient’s prognosis and markedly improve the likelihood of successful medical recovery.
We wish to provide for the perpetuation of this program after our departure. Therefore, we have designed and proposed a system in collaboration with the leading nurses, the hospital canteen, and the chief of the surgical department to provide daily meals when needed for those patients who require additional support .
To ensure the future nutrition of the patients, we need your financial support. We want to fight against preventable deaths where people can medically overcome their disease, but may die due to a lack of something we can access this easily.
A health care system arises and falls due to hunger - we want to fight this with you!