Monday, March 30, 2009

Clinic #3: Canaan

For the next two days, the group split up. The 4 providers (me the MD, a PA and 2 pediatric NPs), along with another NP who was running the pharmacy, would go to the orphanage in Canaan. There, we would see the 100 orphan kids along with the 200 kids who come in for school there. Now, that's a lot of kids, but we had a plan. The PA and I would screen the kids with a quick eye-ear-mouth-heart-lung-skin check. Anyone with any issues would go to see the NPs (since they do peds for a living) and get meds from the pharmacy. We'd give worm meds to the appropriate kids (ie, kids with big bellies).

This started out great. We had Paul, our Ugandan friend and translator, helping give out worm meds after we checked the kids. The meds taste awful, so he'd tell them in Luganda, "Be strong!" and make a chomping noise. Then, he'd give them a yummy vitamin to follow it up with. We laughed every time we heard him say, "Be strong!"

Then, at about 10:30a, I noticed that more and more adults were congregating in the big main room. The main woman at the orphanage came over and asked me when we were going to see the adults. I nearly bit her head off. We had 300 kids to see, when exactly did she think we were going to see the adults?? And we had never planned to see any adults, so what would make her think this was part of our day? I asked how many there were, and she said about 27. I said I would start seeing them after lunch. I figured I could see them all in the 3-4 hours after lunch, and let one NP and the PA do the congo line of kids. We weren't sending too many back for treatment.

At 11a, I see a ton of adults now, hanging around. I marched over the lady and saw that her sheet of paper, previously 2/3 full on one side is now full of names, front and back. I'm livid. I just told her that we weren't supposed to see any, and now she's adding on names?!?

"What's going on? How many people do you have?" Before she can answer, I continue. "No more. I will see as many as I can see, but I cannot see everyone. No more." "No more?" she asks. "NO. MORE." I state firmly.

I grab Paul to help me translate; he gives his "Be strong" strategy to Seggy, our main point-person in Uganda.

To make a very long and painful story short(er), I saw 55 adults in 5 hours. We got a 20 minute lunch consisting of Coke and Poptarts. We saw 160 kids. We saw one baby with meningitis that the parents didn't want to take to the hospital. We were exhausted, emotionally and physically.

When we finally got home, dirty and tired, we found out that the other group had a fairly relaxing day in Waka Waka - eating lemongrass fish cooked by Carl the South African, playing with kids at the orphanage, and talking with the orphanage staff about their needs. Granted, they did arrive at the Waka Waka clinic to an angry mob of 100 people who thought they would get medical care (miscommunication). They triaged those people and had about 20 for us to see the next day, as we switched sites. The providers went to Waka Waka and the rest when to Canaan the next day. We didn't get lemongrass tilapia, but we did get to see some monkeys running around Carl's yard. [this is a picture on the way to Waka Waka...Lake Victoria is in the background]

Next up: Mityana.


Julia said...

craziness! my heart goes out to all the hard work you guys do!

Brad said...

Depending on the flavor of Pop-Tarts, that could be a delicious lunch.