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Madhipura: Talitha Koum

Published 03 Apr 2015

The patients that queue patiently in the corridors and out-patients department at Madhipura Hospital in Bihar, India, have little idea that this clean, well-managed hospital is literally falling apart. Flooding in the area, compounded with annual monsoon rains have damaged the structure of the staff buildings so much that it compromises the whole hospital.


When I visited the hospital late last year, I was inspired by what I saw.  I was also reminded of the stark fact that the future of Madhipura lies in our hands. They desperately need our help and support to save this essential hospital.


Much has already been done by the dedicated efforts of doctors and nurses overcoming the odds to provide high quality and life-saving care to those that need it and could not access it were it not for this amazing place.  One only has to walk through the grounds and corridors to see examples of resurrection and rebirth, both metaphorically and physically.  Whether it’s the relief of pain or symptoms of a patient, or the renovation and building of new accommodation that will help recruit and retain excellent staff, the evidence is everywhere to see.


The specialist baby unit cares for babies who have been born prematurely or had complications.  There aren’t any incubators. I saw a tiny little girl only a few days old fighting for her life, after she’d been asphyxiated during birth.  As she struggled to breathe, the nurse caring for her was constantly watching her for any signs of distress, and doing everything in her power to ensure that this tiny little girl had every chance of survival.  I was struck just how stressful this was for the nurse, and her concern and compassion for the baby was etched across her face.  It was a truly moving scene.


Services like this are at risk because of staff shortages. We were also reminded of the sacrifices that current staff and their families make. Coming home to damp and cramped conditions after long hard days working in the hospital.


Duro’s Story


I heard several stories about people who had to wait significant periods of time while their families and village elders discussed whether it was “worth” sending them to hospital.  One such girl was 12 year-old Duro who had been admitted with TB meningitis. 


Her dad spoke through an interpreter, “My daughter had been ill for many days and the family had taken her to the other hospital in the district.  They told us that nothing could be done for my daughter, and that we should take her home to die.  We took her home and shortly after we thought that she had passed away, we were taking her for burial when a family member noticed some movement.  We then discussed what we should do and a friend said that we should take her to the Mission.”


After being rushed to Madhipura (which was ironically across the road from where she lived), her condition was quickly diagnosed and treatment commenced.  Progress was slow at first, but after three weeks her condition had improved significantly.  When I saw her she was still very weak, but was conscious and her dad was lovingly massaging her hand, eager to tell us the story of his daughter coming back from the dead. 


It was moving to see this genuine resurrection in front of our eyes.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of Mark 5:22-4; 37-43:  “He pleaded earnestly with him.  “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live”….He took her by the hand and said to her “talitha koum” (which means “little girl, I say to you, get up!).  Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was 12 years old).”


What an amazing testimony to the power of God and the love of Christ.  You could almost hear the voice of Jesus say “talitha koum.”


You can help save this essential hospital by supporting EMMS International’s Madhipura Appeal.  Details can be found at Lent & Easter Appeal.