News from Erdi

On the evening of the 14th of January of 2020, we had to let go our very beloved, brave and tough co-founder Dr. Erdi Huizenga. She died in peace and we are intensely sad. A Memorial page has been open where you will find more information about her farewell ceremony, her life and her background.


on 14 January 2020.

On the evening of the 14th of January, we had to let go our very beloved, brave and tough co-founder Dr. Erdi Huizenga. She died in peace and we are intensely sad. The funeral will take place on Tuesday, January 21. Our thoughts are with Dr. Erdi and we wish family and friends a lot of strength with this dramatic event. More information and updates can be found


on 14 January 2020.

The foundation received a letter from the father from Erdi in Dutch, below the translated version

Dear friends,
I hereby send a follow-up message about the state of Erdi, after she was found in coma on January 8, 2020 in the hospital where she works.

Erdi Huizenga was admitted in the Intensive Care unit of the University Hospital Utrecht on Saturday morning 11 January. There she is getting care and is examined. It has been found that Erdi has sustained severe brain damage. She does breathe independently, but with machine support.

Yesterday we had a family meeting with the attending physician. He says the chances that she wakes up out of her coma is practically zero. When breathing support is stopped, she will lose her life. In that case it is uncertain how long it will last, but Erdi will be well taken care off for the duration.

The next message about Erdi will be about her funeral in Apeldoorn. That message possibly will be the last one about her. For many of the recipients of this email we do not have a postal address, therefore that mail will have a funeral card as an attachment in English and Dutch.

We ask you not to respond to this sad message, but to postpone your reactions until after her passing away. In case you know people we should have informed, please inform us accordingly to, because we do not have a good overview of all the people that should be informed.

Abel Huizenga, father of Erdi


on 11 January 2020.

Today, Erdi was transferred from Freetown to the UMC in Utrecht, where various investigations took place. The doctors have found severe brain damage, the chance that she will wake up is nihil….close to zero. Our thoughts are with Erdi and we wish family and friends a lot of strength with this dramatic event.

on 10 January 2020.

During the morning transfer on January 8 at the City Garden Clinic hospital in Makeni, Erdi was not present, and after a checkup the on-site staff found her in a comatose state in her room. After research in Makeni by a doctor from the Masagna hospital, she was transferred to Freetown, where also Dr. ABD was. Further investigation should show the exact cause and it was decided that Erdi will be transferred from Freetown to the Netherlands on January 10 for further investigation.

Dr Erdi gives presentation at Start Up Bodrum in Turkey

on 11 October 2019.

At a health care innovation event in Bodrum, Turkey Dr Erdi gave a presentation about City Garden Clinic and Smarter Hospital.

A group of enthusiastic innovators in health care were there. It was great to meet and share ideas.




Hopefully some will assist in the future of City Garden Clinic, e.g. digitalizing the patient records in a functional and affordable way.


Dr Erdi also brought some souvenirs from Sierra Leone; the sale of these items and few donations go into the project of Smarter Hospital and Wilde Geese to improve City Garden Clinic.

Thanks to Gert and Sibel, the organizers of the event!


NewsLetter Erdi April 2019

For a long time that I have written something.


Many thanks! We have 30 new mattresses, partly donated, part donated by the hospital itself. Super improvement! Thank you to those who have donated !! For the best old mattresses, we now want to have covers made, so that all beds are hygienic.

Child Care Center

We are also busy with Smarter Hospital. We are preparing a major project for the clinic. You will certainly hear / read more of this later. We are already working on another project and that is the Child Care Center in Yele. That started after the Ebola outbreak, because there were many children who lost both parents to Ebola. The family she was forced to take in has barely enough to eat for her own family. That is why these children were often used as “house slaves” or left almost entirely to their own devices. That was not allowed to happen, Dr. ABD thought, and he then wrote to his friends in America: the plan of the Child Care Center was born. When Ruurd and I were just here, Ruurd oversaw that the buildings for the Child Care Center were being completed. There are now 20 children, 3 mothers who take care of them and a manager. Most have lost both parents to Ebola, some also one parent to something else and then the other parent to Ebola. Smarter Hospital wants to find sponsors for the daily necessities for these children: food, clothes, a pen and notebook for school, etc. For only € 10 per month you can sponsor a child. You will receive an update about your sponsor child (through me and through the manager). Read the stories of these children on the website and choose who you want to support. https: //

Broken leg

The girl with the broken thigh has stayed for the entire treatment and is walking again! Watch the video.


That was also the time that we were a very experienced PUM nurse, Mirjam. Dancing with our patient here. She has taught a lot to the nurses and has done team building among the nurses! She has also coached Martha, our matron, now they are still in touch!

Leaking urine

Our labman’s wife has been successfully operated at Aberdeen Women Center (a legacy of Merci Ship, where they are still performing recovery operations of the VVF (vesicovaginal fistulas – connection between bladder and vagina, causing women to lose urine continuously.) She is back home and doing well.

Guarded against major problems

When you work in a country for a longer period of time, people get to know your work. both bones broken.He was treated with local herbs and no stabilization of the fracture.That makes it very painful and not healed.A employee of the workplace where I do have prostheses made for the patients that we have to amputate, this young As this employee himself has lost a leg, he knows what it means to lose a leg. ide legs. To prevent that, he took the boy and his father to me. The x-ray showed that there was no cure yet, but that the fracture position was okay. The herbs of the herbal doctor had made superficial wounds at his ankles. We took the herbs from his legs and gave him plaster above his knee. We have a hole in the plaster at the height of the wound, so that we can keep it clean and heal properly. This was a good opportunity to teach Alie, our clinical health assistant (CHA), how to work with the plaster saw. The boy turned out to be a real “cowboy” (without a horse) so his legs are very important to him. He had not been to school, so he suddenly had a good chance of learning more English and writing letters in a notebook. 😉 The first period he was in the hospital, because he was not allowed to walk yet, later he went home with the plaster. When the plaster was removed, it took some getting used to, but he was able to walk well.Super action from the prosthetics workshop. He certainly has prevented a lot of damage for this “cowboy”! I am glad that we can be a place where he can bring this boy.

Cervical cancer screening

Two weeks ago, Dr. Nick, my colleague at the time of the Ebola, was visiting for a week. Dr. Nick is now a gynecologist in training, but still has a strong bond with Sierra Leone. He works with me to introduce cervical cancer screening in Sierra Leone, together with an organization here in Makeni (World Hope International) and an organization in the Netherlands (Female Cancer Foundation). We are writing a plan to start screening in the province of Bombali (where I am currently working) to show the government how it can be done. And hope that it will then be copied in other provinces. But the main purpose of his visit was to start screening. And it worked! We have started! Our first staff were the first volunteers to be screened, followed by others. We screened 19 women in three days. From now on we will screen women every Thursday for cervical cancer.

News Update Erdi January 2019

Visit Smarter Hospital Board

It is almost the end of the year and I have heard almost nothing from me. So it’s about time to write something. Since October 2017 I have been working at City Garden Clinic in Makeni as a medical super intendent (chief physician).

First of all, one of my highlights of the past year in Makeni: visit of my fellow board members of Smarter Hospital. Besides the fact that it was super fun to have them here, we were also able to make very nice plans. Together with Dr. ABD, the owner of the clinic, and others who play a major role, structurally thought about the future of the clinic: in which direction and what is needed for that.

Together with the Smarter Hospital team, good plans for Smarter Being able to make a hospital. Helping to achieve some of the goals of City Garden Clinic, continue with the Teach-The-Teachers project for primary schools in Yele. And we also want to support the orphanage for the Ebola orphans. More information in this link.

Highs & Lows in the hospital

This week a child has been admitted with an upper leg fracture. A photo could not be taken because all the x-rays in the city of Makeni are not functional (the machine is broken in 2 hospitals and the x-ray film of the government hospital is exhausted). But even without a photo it was clear that the bone was broken. In the government hospital, the doctor was good enough to give a temporary splint of cardboard. Here I spoke with the family and explained that the leg is broken and that the best treatment is traction (about 2 months in hospital).

That was a problem, because the mother is still in school and has exams, so she cannot stay with her for 2 months be a daughter in the hospital. Furthermore, the family could not arrange someone else. Then came the money they have to pay for the treatment (so that we can buy medicines, pay salaries, the electricity bill, etc.). But with grandpa and uncle finally agreed that they would arrange it and we had to take her in. But after I applied the traction, the grandmother, who wanted to take the child to the herbal doctor, came. I refused, but I doubt that I will continue.

The herbal doctor is unfortunately not a “traditional bone setter” of which I have seen pretty good results in Malawi. Here it is “herbalists” who put boiling hot leaves on the swelling, causing serious burns in addition to the existing injury. They often get inflamed and sometimes it ends that the hand or foot needs to be amputated …. (so far she is still in the hospital).

An adult lady who we had to amputate on the foot due to necrosis, has mastered through a sponsor from America (Arms Around Sierra Leone) received a prosthesis. She danced for me on the day I sent her home.

We have received financial support from Insuline for Life and the Antonius Development Fund to furnish the conference room / education room with tables, chairs, a cupboard and a projector. Awesome ! Another step towards improving the clinic! There is still a lot of education to be given, so I expect that this space will be used properly.


What strikes me is the poverty of this country: lack of knowledge, education and insight, money for essential things, and absence of provisions that are for us Westerners are so self-evident.

People who need insulin for diabetes, and who then have to administer it themselves at home, but cannot read it, write it there. I then color the correct amount with a marker, so that they can still treat themselves correctly.

An 18-year-old girl who dies of toothache, because she lives in a remote village, so first goes to the herbal doctor and only too late to a actually be hospitalized and actually unable to pay (we were eventually able to pay only 1/5 of the bill).

Furthermore, we still have at least 5 patients who have actually been better for a long time, but still have to wait for their family to raise money to to be able to pay a hospital bill. Patients with cancer, but nowhere else in the country is chemotherapy or radiotherapy available. Patients with large growths, but pathology is not available in Sierra Leone. A private diagnostic institution can give results, but that costs a lot and then it is sent to Ghana.

The wife of one of our staff, who would give birth to her  5th child. We even talked about a planned caesarean section, her husband wanted that, but she would rather just give birth, which I agreed with. Now I regret this decision. Eventually, the child died in the abdomen, the uterus torn, the uterus was removed during surgery at the government hospital, probably one of the ureters being damaged. And now she also appears to have a vesico-vaginal fistula: the woman then loses urine uncontrollably through the vagina, because there is a connection between the bladder and the vagina. This is because the child’s head presses the pubic bone for a very long time (with the bladder and vagina in between), without the child being born. Fortunately for this fistula, and therefore for the loss of urine, treatment is possible in a specially equipped clinic in the capital.

But there are also positive things.

I regularly manage to get good advice for patients here via internet / email. For example, a newborn baby was referred to me with an innate tumor. Through advice and information from the internet I was able to get the tumor small with injections.

Cervical cancer screening

The plans for cervical cancer screening are going slowly, but it seems to be moving in the right direction. Meanwhile, good contacts with Female Cancer Foundation in the Netherlands and also contacts with the government, both at local and national level.

I hope and expect that in 2019 more concrete steps will follow …

Finally, I want to make a request for support, to make a small but essential improvement for the patients in our clinic. Namely a contribution for new mattresses. The current mattresses are up. The springs protrude, the cover is through and there are dents in the middle.

We want to try to buy new mattresses locally, but with specially strong upholstery, so that we can obtain good hygiene, which is now a major problem with the broken mattresses. A mattress costs around € 50 – 75.00 (exact quote was not available for the holidays).

Depending on the amount available, we replace as many mattresses as possible. Donations for City Garden Clinic mattresses to me or via Smarter Hospital Foundation.

Erdi NewsUpdate July 2018

Dear Friends,

It has taken a long time for me to write you an update.

The Clinic.

I am working in the clinic, attending to patients as well as doing a lot of bedside teaching. Most nurses are qualified nurses, but the quality of the training is not up to the standard, as I would like it. Also some have forgotten things. Therefore a lot of teaching needs to be done: now with a every Friday quiz – having some fun as well.

As I have noticed a big need for proper (basic) orthopedic care, I have started to provide, even though our equipment is far from what is required to do a good job. But even without better equipment, we can provide some treatment better then the herbalists. Most other hospitals do not do any orthopedics, only refer to Emergency Hospital in Freetown (good Italian run hospital, but now unable to cater for the whole country, so almost always full, so often they can not accept new patients).

One of my patients is Isatu. On the 27th of January she was involved in a car accident: she was a passenger and the car drove into a tree. When she came she was in severe pain around her waist, so much that she did not even complain about her arm that was broken too.

As we do not have X-ray and clinically i could not assess the problem well enough. We contacted the Government Hospital in Makeni, were we could come for X-ray, despite the late hour. We put Isatu in the back of the pick-up of dr ABD and went to the government hospital. This is not far, but part of it is over bumpy dirt roads – very painful, despite the pain medication we gave her.

Her left hip was broken in the pelvis (acetabulum fracture) and the right hip was broken in the upper part of the upper leg (pertrochanter fracture). These are severe fractures.

The day she was released from the traction, she was sitting outside, but her face told me she was not happy. She was sad, as she disappointed her relatives, as she did not walk immediately. I explained (again) to her: those are wrong expectations, it will go slowly.

Soon she had her optimism back and started practicing.

Today during ward rounds she danced for me:

See video (below the video more to read)




The website of Smarter Hospital has been renewed, with updated information!

The last updates on teach-the-teacher project are really positive!


City Garden Clinic now has its own website, with much information about the clinic: the history, the staff, news updates, and much more.

Also two projects are on the website: the VIA – cervical cancer screening and the uniform project. More projects will follow, so keep checking the website!


Mr Rudi joins the Nijmeegse 4-daagse again

Like every year Mr Rudi is joining the Nijmeegse 4 daagse (four days of walking). He is training very well.

You can sponsor him (actually you sponsor the VIA project – cervical cancer screening) via

I hope to keep you updated a bit more frequently, but now you can also always check the website (where I will regularly post news updates).

Greetings from Makeni,
Erdi Huizenga



New website looks good

This website looks really good



First experiences in the new ward (Yele)

on 11 August 2012.

It is Thursday, the 4th day our new ward for inpatient is open. We have only one patient who gets much attention and care of our nursing staff.
Mr Yankuba Sesay (CHO) is running the OPD and I am passing by our neighbours, the NedOil palm oil factory, to arrange for a combined trip to Makeni. While taking to Maria Singo, the manager of NedOil, one of the nursing aid from OPD stands in the door opening: there is an emergency.
I follow her to the OPD. On the bed a body of a young boy, the CHO is assisting his breathing as his own is very irregular. Immediately I ask the nursing aids to assist me putting up an IV canula, fortunately successful. We give him D50% (sterile sugar water) through the iv and quite quickly he start breathing better, more regular. He is still very weak and sick. We start other medication and admit him. (I am so very happy this time I do not have to send him in this condition to another hospital, where they might never reach due to transport/money or family problems).

Also he gets much attention from our nurses and his very concerned father. In the following days he really improves a lot. He starts eating well, all by himself. We can send him home on balance medicine.
Via other locals I hear that people on the way to the hospital had said to turn around, as the boy can not make it up, but the father insisted in coming to the hospital. I know he is happy that he did.
I wish these children were brought earlier, but a child can get sick quite quickly, and for many people a hospital is very far (by foot). This is where Lion Heart Medical Centre will make a difference, as before these people had to travel to Makeni (75km) or Masanga (60km) for a hospital. Then the boy would not have made it.

Hurray! The ward of LHMC is –unofficially- opened

on .

Since you can never be 100% ready and we do have to start once, the nurses started their calls this Monday. So instead of all coming at 8 am in the morning, only the normal OPD staff and Beatrice and Beatrice came. They were the first morning shift for the ward. No patient to take care of, but one might come from OPD if needed admission. So they made sure they were ready and cleaned the ward once more. At 2.30 the late shift came: Abdulai and Isha. 
It was almost 6 when I left the hospital with the thought: “Even if no patients, it will still be a good to get used to shifts and to the ward”. But, during dinner I was called by Abdulai: there was a new patient, quite sick. He was trying to take the vital signs, but there was no BP machine in the ward yet.
Quickly finishing diner and together with Maria Singo I went to the hospital.
An elderly man was lying there in the examination room, weak and with fever. I collected the BP machine and extra papers from the OPD, so we could admit the patient. 
We started a drip and other medication, collected from the dispensary.

Our first admission is a fact!






In the mean time the night shift, Janet and Osman had arrived. They got a handover – Abdulai starts our handover book. After that all leave and Osman and Janet stay in charge of the ward.
At midnight I made an extra check, but all was going well: the drip was running and the patient was sleeping. With instructions and a phone to call me with any problem I left them again.
Early morning it was time for medication again, so I went to assist/supervise. -Oeps, this is a bit tiring, but will have to keep it up for now-
At 8 am the early shift and the OPD staf came. All of us crowded in the nurses station and Janet gave the first LHMC morning report: Good morning. Morning report of 24 July 2012……
It is still a long way to a good running hospital and we need everybody’s support to get there, but today I really felt being part of real start of something good. It looks like the nurses have the same feeling, they are so eager to work and learn.

It’s the unexpected that always happens

on .

Dear friends,
No funny or interesting blog this time (will also do), but less good news (though it’s all be fine).
Last Friday was a busy day in the clinic (fairly normal for Friday). However, for Frank and his team work on the hydro was a very exciting and special day, because the day before they finally got the turbine so that it ran smoothly, so could the attempt for the first electricity from the hydro done.
Just when I had my first bite of my (late) lunch would take, I got the call that the power was going to be tested, even in the clinic, so all the sockets, safe place people gather. Quickly I put a sandwich in my pocket, the spaghetti in my other pocket and grab a bottle of water and on my bike quickly to the clinic.
That is not, certainly not the hill of the compound with many rocks / stones, with a water bottle in your hand and your thoughts at the clinic and the electricity test: cases.
I can remember the stones that I could not avoid and the bike that comes over me when I am lying on the ground. And severe pain in my left shoulder.
I try to come up with my right hand and my left arm supporting direction normal position: very painful. I still think geluxeerd hopefully that is the pain when the arm in the correct position. But with my left arm down to normal, controlled, but unfortunately not from the bowl. Then maybe my broken collarbone (also known cure simple / fast), but no, that is intact. Shit, it’s the top of my arm, that’s not so good. There we will have to make a picture to see how big the damage is.
Meanwhile, our cleaner at the hospital and some locals who long walk with me.
The wheel cleaner I rushed to the hospital to warn that power will be tested.
I try to stand, but fall nearly fainted. Ga soon sit in the shade. Just want to lie, but that does much more pain and does not. Frank ride along. I tell what happened, but he must be related with the test, he will warn others.
With others I walk a little later to the hospital, my arm supporting with my other hand. Sit there and received pain medication.
The test of the current is a success: people cheering / dancing / jumping / clapping.
Despite the pain I enjoy, I would participate. It’s party time!
Later in the same well-tested power a picture of my arm made: my suspicion is correct: a subcapitale humerus fracture.
Now go and week.
The photos were also assessed in NL and all feedback says conservative treatment, no surgery.
The pain is less (even with sufficient analgesia to wear it the whole week was). My left arm in a sling under clothing and sleeping sitting also helps relieve the pain. But really done too much that you get when you are responsible for a start-up clinic. Fortunately, with help from my fellow physicians tropics temporarily received support for the clinic by next Monday.
This allows me to NL next Tuesday for a specialist, physiotherapy streets and get more rest for healing. My plan is to then after 2 weeks to go back to Yele and then continue with the exercises from the physio and also have far to go to the clinic.

Digitale rontgen in Yele

on .

Met enige vertraging (vlucht gemist) zijn de monteurs van Medex uit Ghana aangekomen. Don Keus heeft met hulp van Frank, Hans en Co de laatste hand gelegd aan de elektriciteit aansluitingen. Hij heeft kisten uit de container gehaald, klaar voor uitpakken. Edward en James uit Ghana kunnen direct aan de slag. Grote zware apparatuur wordt uitgepakt en in de X-ray ruimte gemonteerd. Vele snoertjes en kabels krijgen de juiste plek en aan het einde van de dag kan de eerste röntgen opname gemaakt worden! Het apparaat van DigiMedX doet het goed!

Op zaterdag, de kliniek is dan gesloten, hebben Maria, Ellie (lab technician en aankomend rontgenlaborant) en dokter Erdi de hele dag de tijd om te leren goede foto’s te maken. Vele mensen fungeren graag als proefpersoon (wilde altijd al weten of die pijn iets met het skelet te maken heeft). Kleine instellingsproblemen kunnen direct door de specialisten verholpen worden.