Little Feet but big steps forward – International World Premature Day

One in ten babies worldwide is born prematurely. Less than 5% of them have access to neonatal intensive care, surfactant, ventilator support or incubator care.

Today, November 17, Haydom Hospital celebrates its tiny survivors and their parents on International World Prematurity Day. Wearing purple means showing responsibility and solidarity toward premature babies worldwide.

Haydom’s premature care unit was all decorated in purple today. There was a welcoming ceremony for the arriving parents and their ex-preemie babies, followed by lectures. Both babies and parents received small gifts, lemonade and cake from Haydom Hospital staff on their special day.

Everyone was celebrating life today.

By the way, a universally used simple non-electrical method of keeping premature babies warm, known all over the world, is kangaroo mother care – In this method, the premature baby lies skin to skin on its stomach on the parent’s bare chest wrapped only by a cloth. This prevents infections, increases the survival rate and stabilizes the body temperature of the newborn. For this we are still urgently looking for comfortable recliner chairs for the mothers in Haydom.

You can easily support this with your donation here.

Furthermore, we are still looking for funds for the purchase of:
1.) Foldable comfortable recliner deck chairs for the mothers during the kangaroo mother care (4 chairs for 50 Euro each)
2.) New Warmilus, non-electric infant warmers for newborns (100 Euro each)
3.) New Bubble CPAPs (500 euros for each device)

Let’s wear purple today and show color for Haydom’s premature and preemie babies worldwide.

It ROLLS – Kids Camp and Medical Follow up Week October 2022

After a short summer break, the time had come again and in Haydom it was time to roll – under the motto “No Bounderies” more than 60 children and their parents came to the aftercare week in Haydom.

Not only all bounderies have been overcome, but also hundreds of kilometers, whether by bus, motorcycle, wheelchair or skateboard. The focus of this week was on mobility and self-determination.

Together with the local team and Dr Theresa, the children were given medical care and the parents were taught the necessary skills in continence management. Special attention was paid to teaching the older children to catheterize themselves, which is an important requirement for going to school. Our little heroes mastered this under guidance brilliantly.

Then it got action-packed, because not only basketballs and wheelchairs but also skateboards, children and parents rolled over specially built ramps and obstacles. Under the supervision of two professional skaters from Arusha, who run a skate park there, and accompanied by music from large loudspeakers and lots of laughter and good humor, not only barriers were overcome, but also fears and a lot of prejudices.

Self-determined mobility and movement is extremely important for the development of every child. This is often denied to children with Spina Bifida, as many often do not own a wheelchair or cannot use it properly in everyday life. However, the fact that a wheelchair is anything but an obstacle and that it can be used to do cool tricks and skate at speed over ramps was more than impressively demonstrated by the kids.

In addition to the skating talents, there were also little basketball heroes and sports stars. Once again it became clear that sport unites and helps to cross borders, which often start in the head.

Together with the local team and in cooperation with the team of Smallsteps_Skatepark, a skate and sports park for integrative sports and integrative skating will be built here soon. For this Haydom-Friends e.V. and its partners are looking for more active sponsors and supporters to realize this dream. It has already come true a little bit when you look into the shining eyes and laughing faces our Haydom children today.

House of Hope – An Update

Finally the time has come – the papers are signed and it is official.

The land to build the center for Haydom’s children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and their parents has been titled to Haydom Hospital and thus to our Spina Bifida Project.

Together with the lawyer and the administration of the hospital, the owner and our team we visited the property, which is located only 20 minutes walk from the hospital at the bottom of the scenic Mount Haydom.

On almost 4000 square meters a refuge for families and children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus will be built here very soon. The children and families will receive aftercare here and be prepared for their return to their villages. The house is also to become an important meeting place for parents, who will exchange information about the special needs of their children and encourage each other.

In addition to the house, a small garden is to be built on the property, where vegetables will be grown for the children’s own use and for consumption. In addition, an inclusive playground for the children is planned.

We are incredibly excited and look forward to making progress and perhaps welcoming families to the new House of Hope as early as next year. The contract was signed under a beautiful and old Baobab tree, there could not have been a more sacred witness than this shady giant. A colorful foundation stone was laid together to mark the beginning of the construction of the house.

International Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day

Haydom Hospital in Tansania is marching for kids with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus on October 25th to celebrate International Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day. Still every year hundreds of children get born with this birth defect, many of them die because education and medical Service are missing. Haydom-friends e.V is supporting medical service, life long follow up and awareness for prevention and early treatment.

New baby sleeping bags for premature infant unit

Hypothermia is still one of the leading causes of death for premature babies even in tropically warm Africa.

Because premature babies do not have sufficient compensatory mechanisms and cannot maintain their own body temperature, they often lose weight along with their temperature and suffer fatal infections. In the western world, incubators provide a sufficiently moist and warm environment in which premature babies can thrive. In countries such as Tanzania, the lack of technical possibilities often leads to the use of dangerous methods such as hot water filled gloves or hot water bottles, which often leak and lead to dangerous scalding of the sensitive skin of the premature babies. New and innovative solutions for temperature management of premature babies are urgently needed.

Haydom-Friends e.V. was able to take action here with the support of its donors and introduced the first non-electric and reusable warming sleeping bag – the Warmilu. Using an activatable heat pad, similar to the winter hand warmers we all know here, a gel in the heat pack is chemically activated by clicking a small metal plate and heats up to a temperature of 40 °C . In a special sewn-in compartment in the sleeping bag, it thus leads to a stable heat of 34 °C inside the sleeping bag over 8 hours, which is similar to the temperature in an incubator. By boiling the heat pack in hot water for 1 hour, it can be made reusable and reused over 100 times. No leakage, no burning and a power free low cost alternative to the western high tech incubator.

Haydom-Friends e.V. was able to finance 8 baby sleeping bags at first, we are urgently looking for further financial support to purchase more sleeping bags and especially more heat packs. Together we want to make the care of the smallest premature babies safer and better. With the new Warmilus, the survival rate of premature and newborn babies should be significantly increased, for this we need your help for a safe neonatal start into a safe and warm life.

Skill Training Haydom Hospital

The first few minutes after the birth of an infant or premature baby can be as life-threatening as life-changing.

Dr Theresa teaches a team of doctors and nurses of the premature unit and obstetrics  life-saving first aid procedures.

Together, they simulate scenarios of various birth complications and practice resuscitation and ventilation of a newborn in the event of an emergency. The team also learns how to establish safe intravenous access via the umbilical vessels, for which they train on real umbilical cords.

Everyone had great fun and achieved maximum success, so they are prepared for emergencies.


A new pediatric bronchoscope for Haydom Hospital

Foreign body aspiration is unfortunately still one of the greatest dangers and silent killers of children in the first two years of life. A peanut or a piece of corn that, once placed in the mouth, enters the deep respiratory tract, not seldom results in the slow choking of infants, who often do not yet have sufficient coughing stimulus to expectorate this foreign body. A valve mechanism often results in inhaled air not being able to escape. The lungs overinflate and small alveoli rupture and burst, causing dangerous air accumulation in the chest.

Such foreign body aspiration is an absolute emergency. Until now, Haydom did not have child-sized and small instruments that could be safely inserted into the airways of young children without causing injury. The children often had to be riskily bronchoscoped either with adult instruments or transported many hundreds of kilometers often without oxygen supply to the hospital in Arusha 350 km away. Most of them did not survive this transport.

Haydom Friends e.V. has therefore handed over a children’s bronchoscope with a special optic, financed by donations, to the Haydom surgical team. With a special optic, the surgeon can project the image onto a large monitor, which makes it easier to find the foreign body in the often very narrow airways, and with a special optical gripper, the foreign body can then be retrieved under good visibility. After the new pediatric bronchoscope was handed over, it was immediately put into operation and the OR staff was trained in its use. In the future, hopefully no child will have to die from foreign body aspiration.

Many thanks to all supporters and especially to the company Storz, which supported this investment significantly.

Keep Rolling – Wheelchairkids on skates

Keep moving and leave your comfort zone, that is exactly the motto of our Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus week in Haydom this May.

We left our personal comfort zone and put ourselves and our wheelchair kids on downhill-wheeles. Together with the two skater professionals Daniel and Gilliard from Smallsteps Skatepark UsaRiver, Tansania, we organized the very first wheelchair skating course in Haydom.

The ramps and obstacles previously made in the village after expert advice from German wheelchair skating professional David Lebuser and sponsored by Haydom-Friends e.V. became the highlight of the week. The kids were provided with protective gear by Daniel and Gilliard from the Smallsteps Skatepark and a short time later they were skating over inclined ramps and curved wooden planes either sitting in their wheelchairs or beeing on the skateboards.

For most of the children this feeling of speed was a completely new experience and was greeted with great laughter and applause. The children playfully learned to control their wheelchairs and practiced their sense of balance while standing or sitting on the board. Not only the children had a lot of fun but also some of the parents turned out to be real ramp talents. The goal is to playfully take away fears and challenge the kids to leave their own comfort zone.

With the wonderful team of the smallsteps-skatepark in cooperation with Haydom-Friends more skatesessions will take place in Haydom in the future. The long term goal is to build an inclusive skatepark in Haydom, where the village kids as well as the wheelchair kids can let off steam, have fun together and show what they are capable of doing.

Together we can go the distance

The sun is rising abough the Haydom Airstrip as the sports pistol is giving the kickoff starting signal for about 200 runners to start moving. The sky is burning in red colours, the soil underneath our feet is red and dusty. 200 participants from Haydom and beyond are running for a good cause. 21 km ahead of me and the newest spotify GOOD MOOD playlist in my ears I am managing my first kilometers. It felt like I was the only one running as the others of my group quickly moved out of my sight. But I kept going, passing sunflower fields, little mud houses and farms, akazia trees, cows and goats. Sometimes the road was flat and paved, sometimes it was uneven and I had to jump across deep holes in the ground. My lungs were burning on every little hill I had to climb up, I could feel the altitude but tried to keep breathing deep and slow, focussing my thoughts on the goal not to stop running.

Along the way on each and every intersection were people standing clapping hands and cheering, some of them were waving flags to indicate which direction to continue. On the difficult parts I remember some were even running alongside with me to keep me going. Moments of joy and pure happyness probably caused by a rush of endorphines running through my entire body alternated with moments of deep exhaustion in which I was really fighting hard wanting to just stop and sit down.

The moment I entered the airstrip again I had only one thought left, to reach the finish line. With my very last power and accompanied by a lot of applause and cheering people shouting my name I crossed the finish line after 2 hours and 11 minutes. I did it!! And not enough, even as fourth best in my category. A lot of hands pat me on my shoulder and congratulated. I felt more than happy I was able to represent our Haydom team that way. I am more than thankful for all of your support and good wishes that have carried me across that finish line. When I received my medal and even a price I could not hold back some tears of joy.

Running that distance was reminding me on the fight that our kids with Spina Bifida have to go through every single day and I am so proud on our little warriors and happy I could do that for them. Mr Giniki, Tansanian most famous long distance and Marathon athlete, also was present shaking hands with me as a symbol of his now further on support and cooperation for our children and parents in Haydom. I had to promise I keep on training and running for a good cause. I am truly willing to do. And who knows maybe I will soon even be running the next level. Thanks to each and everyone of you who donated for our children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in Haydom. The parents and kids after a successful week of education and recreation left with my personal promise that we will continue to keep walking that distance all together and we will see back in October this year.

Wheelchair-Skating at Haydom Hospital

Finally back in Tansania, meeting up with those amazing guys from smallsteps skatepark UsaRiver. They really make a Change in the life of those kids here skating, giving them a home where they are loved and where they can unfold their Talents and spirits. So Glad and proud to be taking them to Haydom to meet our Wheelchair kids. Keep following us for more skating vibes coming up.

And obviously I was not able to resist to bring my own Surfskate to keep trying it in their skatepark. First Skatingpark Drop in ever of my life – and what to say after having defeated my brain, I have had the afternoon of a lifetime skating with those wonderful talented kids here in UsaRiver.

At the same time in Haydom our new obstacles for the short planned skating lesson are about to get finished. Now we need some good weather on Tuesday and some guardian angels to keep us all safe 🙂 🙂 🙂