Pediatric Unit at Kibogora




Kibogora Hospital is a 265-bed district hospital located on Lake Kivu in southwestern Rwanda.  Established in the late 1940s by Free Methodist missionaries as a dispensary to address the physical needs of the surrounding population, it has grown into a hospital with a reputation for excellent care and Christian witness.  It has been recognized as a hospital of excellence by the Ministry of Health, and currently has a staff of approximately 234, serving as the referral center for 12 surrounding health centers and 4 health posts.  Kibogora Hospital is a ministry of the Free Methodist Church of Rwanda, and is administered in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health, serving a population of approximately 250,000.  Historic expatriate partnerships with groups in the US, UK, and Germany remain an important part of the ministry, with support including volunteer professional service, equipment, staff training, and special project funding.  In 2012, a number of these groups joined with the Free Methodist Church of Rwanda and Kibogora Hospital to form the Better Together Partnership. The goal of Better Together is to improve coordination of individual efforts as we strive to maintain the “Kibogora difference”, which includes providing quality and compassionate medical care in the name of Christ to all who have need regardless of the ability to pay.


As the hospital grew in size and services over the years, the need for a separate pediatric unit became apparent.  The roots of the first building were found in tragedy, the sudden and unexpected death of a child–Jeffrey Crandall, son of Dr. David and Linda Crandall, who died while they were serving at Kibogora in the 1970’s.  Dr. Crandall explains:

“God’s ways are not always our ways.  Missionary service is a privilege that the Lord gave to my wife, Linda, and me in the mid-seventies.  We quickly found the experience to be one filled with great rewards and many challenges with unexpected events more the rule than the exception.  When our two year old son, Jeffrey, suddenly passed away in 1975 during our volunteer service at Kibogora Hospital in Rwanda, it was an event that affected our lives forever.  It was a temptation at that time to return to the States.   Yet, even as we contemplated the next step, we realized that our Rwandan friends regularly experienced the death of a child.  We decided to stay and demonstrate to the people we were serving that we could identify with their sorrows and grief, even as God could relate to what they and we were going through.  Upon completing our service in Rwanda, we contemplated a memorial to Jeff that would positively impact the suffering children of Western Rwanda.  With the assistance of family and friends, we were able to raise funds for a pediatric unit at Kibogora that would treat the medical needs of the seriously ill children while providing them a ward separate from adult patients.  It was also planned that special emphasis would be given to those sick children who were seriously malnourished.  Since its dedication in 1978, The Jeff Crandall Pediatric Unit has brought healing to thousands of ill children in Rwanda.  Now, however, as a referral hospital with the benefits of full time electrical service and the need to provide specialized care required at a referral facility, a new unit is desperately needed: one capable of providing improved technical and specialized services.  We are thrilled to see the new unit going up, and consider it a privilege to contribute toward its completion and equipping.  Our hope and prayer is that others will experience the joy of sharing in this project by praying, giving, or both.  All praise to God who works all things according to His purposes!”

Dave Crandall for the Crandall Family


As noted by Dr. Crandall, by the time of a return visit in 2008, the needs of children hospitalized at Kibogora had outgrown the capacity of the current unit.   Due to constraints posed by the physical campus of the campus, as well as funding, it took several years of planning before the final plans were completed.   

Following consultation between CAHO and Kibogora Hospital, the decision was made to begin construction in July, 2014, even though full funding was not yet in place.  This decision was made in part due to the need to complete the initial phases prior the onset of the rainy season, a delay which would have postponed the project for another year.  Approximately 50% of the funding was in place due to earlier donations, with the opportunity remaining for many others to join in this privilege of giving.

The original Jeff Crandall Pediatric Unit has been taken down, and a new one-story building is being constructed in the same location.  Materials from the old building are being recycled into the new construction as much as possible in order to reduce costs.   During the approximately 8-months of construction,  children are being temporarily cared for in the former Internal Medicine ward, with those patients displaced to a temporary tent facility. 

The new building will maintain its separate location from the upper hospital campus to provide a safe and attractive environment for the children and their caregivers.  Facilities will include more space for bed separation to minimize cross-infection, an intensive care ward, private and isolation wards, kitchen for preparation of food and family training, and an area for activities and play directed by the Occupational Health staff.  The new facilities will also provide improved hygiene and working conditions for the staff, as well as nursing students in training.

Realizing that a well-equipped building is only one part of the overall program, Kibogora Hospital is committed to the development of a dedicated pediatric nursing staff with an ongoing in-service training program.  The program is already in place, and is in part supported by volunteer expatriate pediatricians, advanced nurse practioners, and nurses.              


The goal has been reached! Thanks to many donors!
The total project cost is $254,000 US.  The CAHO website will have periodic updates on funding progress.  Just as it takes many individual small bricks to make a large building, each donation will have an impact on the completion of the building, and determine how quickly the children can be moved back into their own dedicated space.  

Won’t you join with us in the privilege of participating in an investment with immediate and long term benefits for sick children at Kibogora Hospital?

The Board of Directors of the Central Africa Healthcare Organization

Tax-deductible donations may be made by mail or online.


Checks made out to “CAHO”  with designation “Kibogora Pediatric Unit”, and mailed to:

PO Box 580
8050 Spring Arbor Road
Spring Arbor, MI 49283

Online donations may be made via FMF Financial Services through the CAHO website:  click here to give
(Make sure to follow the online directions and designate the donation for CAHO-Pediatric Unit).

The Central Africa Healthcare Organization is a 501(c) 3 organization.  No administrative fees are taken from designated donations, with 100% of the amount going to the project.