Clinic was at Kigama today. It started out very slow much to our surprise. However, it was a good thing as most of us were pretty tired with adapting to the time change among other things. Jean woke up at 3:00 and after trying to get back to sleep she headed down for breakfast thinking it was 6:00 am. When she arrived the kitchen was locked and dark and she realized it was 5:00 am, not 6:00 which is our usual breakfast time. Needless to say, she crawled back into bed until she was rudely awoken by us banging on her door one hour later! We had a consistent but not overwhelming flow throughout the day and ended up seeing 697 people plus one extra – as we were leaving a very ill malaria patient was lying on the ground outside so we stayed to assess and treat her. Thank God she made it before we left. Fourteen wounds were dressed and approximately 12 to 15 women attended a sexual health group. It’s hard to get a consistent account for sexual health education because, as we sit outside and talk, more and more women join in. A group of 8 often ends up as 50! We dewormed throughout the day as usual. A nine year old was taken to hospital for a severely deformed wrist fracture from 3 weeks prior in which he had not received medical attention for. This would lead to a lifelong disability. Our highlight of the day was seeing Grace, a mother of seven from last year. She had come to us malnourished and ill, breastfeeding her baby who was doing well, but struggling with her own health and ability to cope with caring for her children. Johnstone had been following up on her since and she returned to the clinic today with 2 bags of avocados for us!
You’ll see some pictures posted to give you an idea of how the clinics work. Registration is run by our Kenyan helpers. Triage is staffed by Kenyan and Canadian nurses. Jean has been diligently working in triage every day and we are thankful for that! Although it provides the most patient contact, it is also the most chaotic station of the clinic. This is where we give out the items many of you have donated. Thank you Adrian for the colouring books and stickers which the Kenyan children love! Moms do not come to the clinics with diapers bags filled with snacks and toys like we do so all of the stuffed bears and cars are greatly appreciated. Clinical Officers assess patients and write the diagnosis and treatments required on their charts. The charts go to the medication table where we record all treatments. We work alongside our Kenyan colleagues here as well. The Kenyan nurses deliver the medications to the patients and provide health teaching.
Working with the Kenyan healthcare workers is a mutual partnership in which we learn from one another. We can’t help but compare nursing stories. We learned that since last year the county took over nurses’ pay which has caused many issues. Some nurses have not gotten paid for 3-5 months at a time! There are many nurses without jobs because the expectation is for nurses to take on a greater workload. They can care for 14 patients at once and with limited resources. An example was given of a hospital in which the gowns for the surgeons were so threadbare, the Doctors had been on strike for 3 weeks until they were provided with better quality to ensure sterility. It makes us appreciate our healthcare system when we hear these stories.
Tomorrow will be a shorter day as we always have a supper with our Kenyan helpers on Saturday. We will do the clinic we were supposed to be at on Monday. We are all hoping for a better sleep tonight but have our doubts as 3 busloads of rugby players from Uganda just arrived for a match tomorrow so it may be a noisy night! Bye for now.