I’ve realized I haven’t really explained what we do at placement…
It varies day to day based on whats needed or where we end up.
We often start our mornings in the pharmacy helping sort pills, then distribute them to patients. This is where we feel most useful actually, since they can’t give out medication until it has been sorted and there are only two women currently working there, so people may end up waiting hours to get their medication.
We also have worked in maternity observing births, weighing newborns and helping prep gauze. Though we did this more in the beginning than we do now. We’ve seen a few births, all healthy, which is lucky considering a good amount of women have still borns here (and many more die before their second birthday)
In the OPD (out patient) there is a doctor who lets us sit in on consulations, and translate for us. It’s less helpful, but really interesting especially when he’ll ask us to try and diagnose based on the symptoms (we are rarely right of course), or let Genny actually examine them. There have been a few sad cases, such as admitting an HIV positive man who was wasting away, and clearly would not be leaving the hospital again. It’s interesting when we saw one HIV positive test, the man didn’t really react, apparently its so common people just sort of accept it. And then there are general cases, like malaria. This is one of our favorite places to work. Also in the OPD we can work in medical records to help check patients in and register new patients.
The lab, which I’ve mentioned before is also a common place we end up. Usually around 10am we go to help with blood draws, then take the samples back for either full blood work ups or CD4 count, the lab tech there now just lets us handle the whole process, while he does other work and tries to teach us swahili.
The last we weeks we’ve been with Dr. Ruga doing rounds and surgery, which is apparently where we are supposed to be most of the time, but because we mostly observe we don’t feel particually useful and therefore aren’t there as often any more. Other medical school students (local) also go around with him and it was really nice to be able to talk to someone local with a higher educational degree, the conversation was much like any you might have in the US instead of a strained, often awkward conversation that will end in a marriage proposal about half the time…
We only have three weeks at placement until Kili, and not sure exactly what we’ll be doing!