Come to Ghana!
November 7th, 2014 by Dennis Salter
Posted in Uncategorized|
You will fall in love with these people! I guarantee it! They have a kindness and a love like you have rarely seen before. It is a joy and a privilege to be here to help and to learn!
Today I went on outreach with a team of four. It was great to get into the public health piece directly into the communities. We went to two villages and did primary care, vaccinations (including dpt, polio, rotavirus, pneumococcal, mmr, and even yellow fever) and weight checks for children under 2 years of age. Vitamin A is given age specific at 6 months. Many of the children were either not gaining or actually losing weight. We also distributed mosquito nets for families as needed. The goal is to reduce childhood mortality (mostly from malaria and child hood diseases) and to reduce maternal mortality by doing more prenatal care. We didn’t have any mothers to be that I could tell (although, it is not always easy to keep up with the language barrier!).
Our journey began with a fairly long drive on challenging roads (no roads in some places, I swear we drove through at least 3 small lakes and some moon craters!). It reminded me a bit of the drive up to Loi Tai Leng in Burma! It always amazes me how we make it through and don’t get vehicle breakdown! God is good and roads like this are the reality here, so, get used to it!
One thing that surprised me is that they don’t routinely give deworming medicine to these kids when they do outreach. Worms are common from contaminated water and food. You can see some huge bellies on some kids and that is quite often worms. No wonder kids don’t gain weight, they are sharing their food with “friends”! Perhaps I can speak with leadership at some point and suggest this need. Albendezole and mebedizole is relatively inexpensive.
Back at the “ER ranch” and I hit the ground running, about 12 noon. We had student nurses today (every Friday and again on Saturday mornings). They are eager to learn and I get to spend alot of time precepting and teaching. I love it! We had a hodgepodge of patients (as usual). One patient had a reaction to the blood she was getting, stopped it and gave her hydrocortisone (they don’t have benadryl). She was fine and the good news she didn’t react till the unit was almost all transfused so she still got the benefit. Lots of kids and then at 2:30 we had a baby rushed in who was seizing. He had a temp of almost 104 and was likely malaria. It was tough going and I gave valium and a tylenol suppository. Seizure continued for what seemed like forever! God intervened and the child stopped seizing briefly. This gave me time to get an IV in his sweet little hand and blood sent to lab. He seized briefly again but soon he was somewhat better with fever reduced. I went back tonight after dinner and he was much much better, positive for malaria and being treated. He cried when I touched his forehead but at least he was feisty and focusing and responding!
Tonight we had a road traffic accident and patients everywhere! (even laying on the floor, not enough beds). I tell you, this is a great place to practice! Innovation is key and flexibility is everything!