Today an awful thing happened. Five people came from the ministry of health and chained, padlocked and nailed our beautiful clinic shut. With no warning, no paperwork, and no instructions as to what to do next.
One month ago, we had an inspection where they verbally noted some things they wanted fixed but left nothing in writing, no official notification and no steps to follow. Three separate visits to the ministry of health from staff in our center resulted in still nothing in writing but a seeming consensus of what they wanted fixed. We responded in writing with our actions already taken and plans for remedying the rest, of which we have a stamped, received copy.
As they were nailing all the other doors shut from the inside, they simply said we had not responded to their demands.
We had to plead for them to allow us to get the ARVs (anti-retro virals, HIV drugs) and seizure meds out for our kids. Kids who are in the middle of any other course of treatment, including anti-biotics, were left without their meds. Mind you, we have over 260 kids! They did not appear concerned.
This has been so shocking and traumatic for our nursing staff, both foreign and Mozambican, as you can imagine. For our whole staff really. Please pray for God's will to be done, our directors to be wise and gracious and discerning and for God's favor to rest on us as we seek to work with the Ministry of Health to sort this out. And for the care for our children's health to not be compromised in this time of limbo.
By the way, at the same time they were nailing our clinic shut, a boy who appeared at our gate last night and spent the night until we could investigate where he came from, began having a seizure! With our clinic closed, we are unable to treat him. We are approximately an hour away from Central Hospital, with traffic, and can you imagine getting a child to the doctor every time they are sick when you have 260 to care for? Fragile, vulnerable, often under-nourished and immuno-compromised kids? Many who come to us specifically because they are medically unable to survive in their homes?
As a second aside, this morning, two short hours before the clinic was being nailed shut, we received a one month old little peanut from the hospital, who specifically wanted him to come to us because of the care we provide. He weighs 1.5 kilos! That is THREE.THREE POUNDS!! Without the support of a clinic. (Please keep little Inacio in your prayers too!)
I am reminded tonight of the Beattitudes as I try and process all that has happened today. It is not our place to seek vengeance yet we certainly want to defend the defenseless who are in our care. Please pray with us as we walk this new journey. Good thing we know Who goes before us!
(By the way, I use the term "we" loosely - I was not involved, I just mean we as in center staff.)