At the clinic, Dr. Ben told us, many people keep their cows/animals under their same roof to avoid them from getting stolen. Therefore, there is often cross contamination and infection. Most common we saw hookworms, stomach infections, fungal infections, and UTI’s.
Cows are a sign of wealth and a dowry could be 12-16 cows. A single cow could cost $2,000 USD. People live on less than $1 a day. People die over cows and the area of Ntagcha was filled with cattle wars before COH. Many of the children are orphans because of cattle wars. Now with the presence of COH, cattle wars are not present in the area and the local villages are at peace.
At our first day at the clinic, I helped sweep the dirt floors. It was humbling and made me think of the skilled workers that seek refuge in the US and are unable to work in their trade. They take up housekeeping and service jobs when they are more skilled. Every person at the clinic helps out with sweeping and mopping every morning.
There is a strong community here in the City of Hope. Everyone is welcoming and generous. Each child I saw arrive at the clinic, walks with a friend. Every child that came to the guest house for care, arrived with a friend. Each child helps and leans on one another.
At the clinic, they use differential diagnosis to help each patient. There are only basic tools and you must use your knowledge to find the cause of their pain and treat it. I helped with a malaria test, which is very similar to a glucose test. This test and a stool sample were the tests used most often with patients. Medicine is a few cents to a few dollars and many people cannot pay the amount. They are given a sliding scale and usually the loan comes from the community. I was told my 1 person Duke education = 9 college student educations in Tanzania.
I observed them use every available resource. For example, we would cut cardboard from packaging to give to patients to use as paper. The pill bottles we use in the States, made their way to this clinic and are used to give to patients.
At the clinic, there is no running water. There are solar panels but they do not work and there is not money to fix them. They were installed a few years ago by a grant from the US embassy. When we were there, they ran out of alcohol prep pads.
I watched Dr. Adam speak to the entire family about a diagnosis and prevention. He didn’t just focus on the patient. I watched also how they give IV injections straight into the wrist. They do the IV injection with such precision, getting it right, finding the vein the first time. This is not a practice we do in the US, because we hang out IV medications. In the US, inserting into the vein directly is only for emergencies.
During our time at the clinic and COH, we provided: health history and assessments of the children, wound care prevention, we taught on types of wounds and how to care for them, hand hygiene, UTI, menstruation/fertility cycle – reusable pads, and nutrition to community – mothers and babies. I would add we were asked to speak on these topics to the children and community. We did not come up with these topics ourselves.