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African Boutique Coming to FAMC
FREMONT, NE – June 22, 2011: In continued support of our sister hospital in Naivasha, Kenya, Fremont Area Medical Center will host an “African Boutique” featuring beaded jewelry and scarves handmade in Naivasha, beaded placemats, key chains and baskets, African-themed notecards and artwork, and African-inspired clothing. The boutique will be held on Wednesday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in FAMC’s main lobby (inside the east entrance).

Proceeds from this boutique, and others like it, are helping build a much-needed women’s hospital in Naivasha, where overcrowding causes patients to share beds and newborns die needlessly of hypothermia, infection and lack of nutrition.

Over the past ten years, due largely to the expansion of floriculture and horticulture industries and the subsequent addition of 70,000 jobs, many families migrated to Naivasha, Kenya. Unfortunately, the growth in employment has put a huge strain on the healthcare facilities, with the local hospital now serving a population of more than 400,000. It was designed with less than half that number in mind.

The 110-bed Naivasha District Hospital is the only public hospital within 50 miles. There are 36 beds in the maternity ward, and at any given time, there are 60 mothers. Twenty sick babies typically fill the twelve baby cots designated for them. Because of this overcrowding and sharing of beds, there is increased risk of cross-contamination for both mothers and babies, and the infant mortality rate is 79 per 1,000.

In 2004, after returning from a one-month medical mission to Naivasha, Omaha nurse Cindy Berkland founded the Friends of Naivasha, USA. Berkland was intent on helping the Kenyans build a new 84-bed Women’s Health Care Center, and with money raised through the Friends of Naivasha, USA, and the Friends of Naivasha Self Help Group in Kenya, construction began in 2007. Today, phase one is nearing completion.

Since 2005, outdated supplies and equipment from FAMC and other hospitals in Nebraska have been shipped to Kenya at no cost through Valmont Industries. In fact, the new women’s hospital is being equipped entirely with supplies donated by Nebraska hospitals. Items that have no value and are considered obsolete in the U.S. – like old hospital beds and fetal monitors – are of great value there. As of 2011, ten 40 foot containers of medical equipment have been shipped, including: birthing beds, fetal monitors, infant warmers and isolettes, operating room tables, anesthesia machines, surgical lights, and a commercial washer and dryer.

There are no administrative costs, so all donations and proceeds from boutique sales go directly to the Women’s Health Care Center, which will affect the mortality and morbidity of thousands of women and children.

To find out more about the Center, visit, or “like” the Friends of Naivasha page on Facebook to keep updated on the progress.