Archive for July, 2010

A ‘Normal’ Doctor’s Schedule – Ghana Day 9

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 |

  Just a typical day at Ghana’s Baptist Medical Center: This morning I arrived find to 27 new patients admitted to the pediatrics ward by the nurses overnight! That’s 27 kids with malaria, sepsis, pneumonia, dehydration, all on top of chronic malnutrition. Next up, I rounded on 55 adults with snake bite, malaria, tuberculosis, bone […]

Snakes In The Grass! – Ghana Day 3

Saturday, July 17th, 2010 |

  Making rounds at Baptist Medical Center in Ghana – up near the northern border with Burkina Faso. Stunningly, a quarter of our hospital patients are here for snake bit! Now is the rainy season, when farmers are scrambling out to their fields to plant corn and millet. And awaiting in the foliage is this […]

Test Your Pediatrics Skills – Angola Day 25

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 |

  Here at Lubango Evangelical Medical Center it is the nurse practitioners that first attend to those coming for care. Paulo and Miguel are skilled, thoughtful, and can manage most individuals just fine. For me, they save the more complicated cases. Today, first, these included a four-year old girl who was growing normally until struck […]

Yes, These Are Bullet Holes – Angola Day 23

Monday, July 12th, 2010 |

  At the height of the Angolan Civil War I was living in the central city of Huambo. The city was patrolled by day by the MPLA military force, and by night by the opposing UNITA force. Confrontations were like clockwork. As the sun was setting, I would hear explosions in the distance, and as […]

Paulo Buaki: A Life Well Lived – Angola Day 21

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 |

  All of us involved in ‘global health’ agree with the imperative of preventive care and relief from poverty. But nevertheless, people will still suffer from emergencies – situations in which urgent care is truly lifesaving. Enter Paulo Buaki. A native Angolan, Dr. Buaki completed his surgical residency with the renowned Pan-African College of Christian […]

What’s The Neonatal Dose For Quinine? – Angola Day 19

Friday, July 9th, 2010 |

  This is a question very few, if any, neonatologist ever faces in wealthier communities. Today I met this mother and her three-week old infant, who stopped nursing yesterday. Malaria is so very common here, even in the dry season, that the standard thick smear blood test is part of the work up of anyone […]

Pre-1960’s Medical Practice – Angola Day 17

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 |

  This morning I arrived to find this man, who arrived with a history of weight loss (check out the cheek bones), abdominal pain, and cough for three months. One of the greatest challenges of ‘practicing medicine’ in this setting is the lack of testing available. In North America, he would immediately have a CT […]

The End Of Poverty – Angola Day 11

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 |

  Early death is an inconsolable fact of life. In the world’s poorest nations, like Angola from where I’m writing now, a quarter of children die before reaching school age, and adults can hardly expect to live much beyond age forty. Such disturbing truths motivate many healthcare professionals to do something bold on behalf of […]

Vesicovaginal Fistula – Angola Day 9

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 |

One of the saddest health problems in all the developing world is vesicovaginal fistula (VVF). It’s a hole created between a woman’s bladder and her vagina, resulting in a constant, uncontrollable flow of urine out the vagina. As a result, many these women – and often children under their care – are outcast by their […]

Sustainable Healthcare For Those Most Poor

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 |

  “Doctor, come quickly!” The nurse’s voice carried a tone of urgency that matched his message. I rose rapidly and entered the chilly night air. Moments later, in the children’s ward at Angola’s Kalukembe Hospital, I met a distraught father carrying Maria, his five-year old daughter. “She’s coughed for days,” he explained with distress. Still […]