Kenya: In seventh week of doctors’ strike, mission docs need prayer as they stand in the gap

Dr. Scott Myhre operating without electricity, using a headlamp

By Mark Ellis

With doctors on strike for weeks in the government-controlled healthcare system, mission doctors are playing a crucial role amid horrific conditions that continue to deteriorate.

Since December 4th, more than 5,000 medical staff connected to 2,000 public hospitals have been on strike, protesting the government’s failure to honor a 2013 agreement for a pay increase.

Some missionary doctors, like Scott and Jennifer Myhre, are filling in the gap at public hospitals amid power outages, and other life-threatening supply shortages.

The Myhres are missionary physicians from the U.S. who joined Serge (then World Harvest Mission) in 1991, and have worked in East Africa since 1993: 17 years in Uganda; five years in Kijabe, Kenya; and now partnering with the Kenyan government hospital in Naivasha. The couple met when they were students at the University of Virginia.

On January 21st, about 1 pm, Scott and Jennifer were about to go shopping for groceries when they received an emergency call about a woman with an ectopic pregnancy (the fetus is not in the womb, but in one of the Fallopian tubes which ruptured).

After they arrived, Scott discovered the woman’s blood pressure was 70/30, too unstable to transfer her to any other hospital.

“It’s him, or nothing,” Jennifer noted on their blog. “He’s done this surgery before, but not often enough to be confident.”

But there were other problems on Saturday, like no power, because workmen were installing a back-up generator but had not yet finished. They were also out of sutures, the lab was unable to run samples, and there was no blood in the blood bank.

Scott began to operate on the woman wearing a headlamp in the dim light. “Blood is pouring out onto the floor, the suction isn’t working. A back-up power source was running the electrocautery, but then stops (it turns out the anesthetist tripped over the plug, but we don’t realize that at the time).

Jennifer stood quietly nearby, watching and praying as he worked.

MORE

The Christian Post