|Top: Lulu, June 2013 – April 2014, bottom: Hope, July 2013 – April 2014|
It is hard to know how to begin as I am writing to you all this morning. We are heartbroken to tell you that baby Lulu passed away in hospital on Wednesday night, and that Hope passed away on Friday night from the same infection.
Lulu had been in and out of hospital over the last few days, but was on antibiotics and smiley and happy on Wednesday with just a low fever. The Mamas spent all day giving her dehydration salts, but she deteriorated during the day and was re-admitted to Nkoaranga hospital in the evening. Mama Pendo was with her and had planned to ask us to have her transferred to a bigger hospital in Arusha today, but Lulu passed away around 5am despite the doctor and nurses’ best efforts to save her. Hope was also suffering from similar symptoms and so was admitted to hospital in Moshi with a high fever. For a while we held out hope that she might once again pull through; however, she passed away despite the best care available in the region.
The most likely scenario, though we will probably never know for sure, is a virulent bacterial pneumonia, that Lulu caught, and Hope was just that much more susceptible to catching from her than the other children because of her history of recurrent illness and slow weight gain. There is no reason to suspect any reservoir of infection in the orphanage at this time, and this does not have the hallmarks of influenza or other endemic conditions. We will remain vigilant and continue to exercise and encourage good hygiene.
Our thoughts will be with all those whose lives these baby girls have touched, and who are hurting at this moment. Dorothy shared this poem by Judah ha-Levi with us and I wanted to share it with all of you as well. I hope it will help you process this sad news.