The board delegation returned from its trip to Kenya last fall in good spirits and full of energy. All experiences and indications pointed to the fact that the health care system of the East African country is on a good track. The government had consolidated the network of medical facilities and improved their equipment. We were convinced that we would help shape this change and develop Rhein-Valley Hospital accordingly. The delegation had interacted with the staff on site and briefed them on e medical equipment. We reported on this in detail here in December.

We had ideas and plans on how to make Rhein-Valley Hospital fit for the future. But then came the Corona pandemic. First to Europe and soon to Africa. Currently, we are experiencing a sharp increase in corona infections worldwide and Switzerland is also experiencing very high levels of infection. Kenya has been taking various measures to contain the pandemic for some time. There is a strict mask requirement everywhere and schools are completely closed until further notice. The population and also the trade suffer very much from the negative effects and mostly do not receive any governmental or other support.

Return to school is questionable

Meanwhile, the curve is pointing down again, but the impact on poor people is pointing in the other direction. Children and teenagers are particularly affected. ZDF reported on this in a report in “heute journal” on August 16: The government had already decided in March to close the school until at least January 2021.

Out of nowhere, children’s educational careers were reduced by a full school year. Learning at home via distance learning is hardly possible. Digital devices, Internet access and a reliable power supply are missing. In Kenya, the school fulfills more tasks than just providing education. Many children get their often only meal a day there. If the school is closed, so is the lunch table. Parents who have become unemployed in the lockdown cannot feed their children. Much too young, they have to work and contribute to the family’s livelihood. Whether they will return to school one day is questionable. Crime and exploitation are spreading. Teenagers are more likely to be pregnant as a result of exploitation and rape than before the corona pandemic.

Hospital operations remain uninterrupted

Due to the pandemic, the Board has cancelled the Board trip planned for November. Unfortunately, we are not able to get a personal impression of the developments in the country in general and in Kasambara-Gilgil in particular this year. However, we are in digital contact with Ruth Schäfer and her team.

They are committed to providing the best possible health care to people, even under the most difficult conditions and government regulations. We are doing our best for the hospital in this difficult Corona time. Out of Switzerland. As soon as we have the opportunity, we will make up for the trip. With all that has happened this year and will happen in the wake of the pandemic, our guiding principle remains the same: We continue to put ourselves at the service of the poorest people in the region. Our hospital is a place to go for their worries and fears.

We thank you, dear donors and patrons, for your unwavering trust. We know that your commitment cannot be taken for granted. Many aid organizations are complaining about a massive drop in donations. It has already reached a level that raises fears that a number of projects can no longer be supported sufficiently.

We did everything we could to ensure that Rhein-Valley Hospital would continue to be the hospital of hope.

We continue to rely on your valued support.
Dear donors, thank you very much!

Erich Kühnis