Friday, October 11, 2013
We are finding our feet here after a busy initial couple of days getting settled into a base. We went for a walk last night and met some of the local families.
Today we attended the St Josephs morning meeting including a teaching session, then we split up to go to medical, surgical and paediatric wards to work alongside the African health professionals. Its a difficult time of transition, trying to adjust to the different way of practicing medicine here and being confronted with advanced disease and suffering in a setting which does not provide adequate health facilities, drugs or support. Doctor Laurel saw a 15 year old girl suffering uncontrollable muscle spasms as a result of Tetanus and was also quite concerned to help the hospital provide better pain relief and symptom relief for those suffering terminal illness and medical procedures.
Andrew found it quite a new experience to wear a white coat on the ward rounds ! He saw cases of Sickle Cell disease, malaria, pneumonia and severe anaemia amongst the 50 children on the ward. A very breathless child was also found to have an acute air leak (Pneumothorax) and required a chest drain. We all found it a very medically challenging day but we hope to get into a routine of attending the wards every morning. At the Bregma clinic they have an established vaccination program which is good to see and have also recently been approved by the government to be a HIV /AIDs testing and counselling centre.
Malcolm has been able to drive dr vincents car around the town and is quite adept at dodging massive pot holes . Shirley has started to tackle the book work at the yotkom office and drug shop, helping to get good reporting in place. Unfortunately, Hannah has been sick with gastric symptoms and had to stay home and rest today. We have been very blessed with some helpers to do our washing (Sarah) and cook some nice meals for us (Joyce).