When Sarah and I first arrived, we were directed to sit on a bench to wait to speak to the physician. We ended sitting for good amount of time, but we made lots of good observations and saw a lot of neat things. First thing that was noticed was that there were roosters wandering around and walking down the wards. We laughed at the thought roosters and hens walking up and down the sterile looking hallways at the Cleveland Clinic.
Another thing we noticed was the mass amount of pregnant women. Later I asked my nurse, and she said that they were so busy with pregnant women, the ward didn’t even have enough beds (even after they added more). We saw at least 15 pregnant women! They were there today to register and pay for future services (when they are ready to deliver). Then they all went to the maternity ward to wait in line to be examined by the physician. Tomorrow they are “booked” which means they have labs drawn and further preparations for delivery. Such an interesting way of handling things!
After watching all of this and briefly meeting with the physician (there is only one regular doctor there, a general practitioner), I sat in on consultations with the nurse. This is where patients come in when they are not feeling well. The nurse see’s them first and takes weight, blood pressure, temperature, and complaint. Then she can choose to send them home or to see the doctor. However before the patient can even have a consultation with the doctor, they must go pay for the consultation.
Once all the morning consultations were done (we were swamped at the beginning because it was Monday morning), the nurse told me to take lunch. So she ordered me plantains and fish, it wasn’t bad!
After lunch, the nurse told me she did not have any work except logging and paperwork, so I wandered on over to the lab. Part of being a good healthcare working is looking outside of just your scope of practice!
The lab techs were very kind and welcomed me. They had a lot to show me! There was a table with lots of specimens, testing for Malaria, and 2 types of worms that is commonly found in the villages. Gross stuff on those slides!
Since their resources are so low, they improvise a lot! For example, one of the most common tests they do is the rapid HIV tests. Instead of using the automatic pricker (like we use for blood sugar tests) they just use a 22 gauge syringe needle. The number of HIV tests they do is crazy!
The lab tech said they find 3-4 people a month with HIV, which to be honest doesn’t seem that bad to me!
In order to get the full educational experience in the lab, they went ahead and showed me how to do an HIV test.. by testing me!
I’m happy to report my test was negative :) I guess that is the benefit of putting yourself in the patient’s shoes! The lab tech was sure to show me that he was using a new needle tip. He said he does this for everyone, because in the past there has been discrepancies about reusing needles. It was nice to know that they are really working hard to ensure safety!
I was also impressed with the sharps box. It was actually an empty soda bottle, but he did say that the clinic burns the sharps when finished. This is a definite improvement from what we saw done with the sharps at the regional hospital (they throw them in the trash.)
My two comrades, Kristen and Lydia were at the regional hospital again. Lydia said she had a pretty slow Monday (nothing wrong with that right ;-) ), because there were no surgeries. Kristen didn’t have any laboring mothers or births, however she had fun holding babies all day! We love babies!
After clinical, Emmanuel (the tailor) dropped off something for me. It’s a surprise for someone at home, so I cannot elaborate. But it is so neat to have clothes made!
Then we had sandwiches from the bakery and plantain chips. Now I’m mostly packed and ready for my last day. CRAZY!
Africa has been great to me! I will be leaving with infinitely more knowledge!
One last picture, I stole it from Kristen’s camera card when getting the picture of her and the baby. It is from the other night when we all had dinner at Amilia’s. Such nice people!