Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kaleo Update :)

Hello again from the Kaleo girls - Crystal, Jessica, Lisa, and Kristen. We briefly talked about our first week in Kaleo in our last post, but we wanted to give you a better idea of what we've been doing here. We live just steps from the clinic and a typical day begins at 8. The staff are just completing dusting and gathering to say morning prayers. We don't know the first one, but we join in for the Lord's prayer at the end. After that we do some little jobs like getting water from the tap outside so there's a way to wash our hands inside. During this first week we've all had a chance to cycle through the different areas in the clinic. A patient will first go to the OPD (outpatient department) to fill out insurance forms, have their weight and temperature taken, and give a brief history of why they are here. They will then have a consultation with a nurse and the medical assistant. Having a medical assistant is something new to the clinic and he is just settling in as well as he's only been there for 3 weeks. His role is similar to a GP at home. There is no lab at the clinic, although they are hoping to get services soon, so diagnosis is based entirely on presentation and assessment. We're definitely learning a lot and stretching our brains! After a diagnosis is reached, treatments and medications are prescribed and the patient heads over to the dispensary. They keep a stock of common medications and give them out right there. If any dressings are needed they are also done there. There is a room for people to stay overnight if need be. It is a 24 hour clinic so we've also had the chance to help with a few after hour cases such as accidents and snake bites.  The clinic has a big focus on maternal health and Mondays are prenatal assessment days. Postnatal check ups are also a common task at the clinic. We mentioned that we'd been a part of a few births here and we're loving these experiences. The midwife is wonderful and knowledgeable and has taken us under her wing. As you all know, babies don't pay attention to business hours so we've been called to the clinic a few times at late hours. We rushed there excitedly at 5 a.m. the other morning and were all a bit dissapointed to see a baby sitting there when we came in. This particular mother was having trouble delivering the placenta but had no other complications in the end. Home births are very common here despite the increased risks but we feel like this trend might be changing and we have to give credit to the clinic for this. Their skillful and compassionate care make birthing at the clinic a more attractive option.  On that note, we wanted to talk a bit about the attitudes at the clinic. The staff really seem to care for their patients which is wonderful to see. For example, the midwife was fanning a patient who was in labour as it was VERY hot in the room :) It's been very interesting to see how socially conscious Ghanaians are. We've seen signs up all over the country that talk about common issues such a TB, homelessness, mental health, and HIV. This continues on in the clinic where most walls display some informative poster. We also had a chance to visit a centre for people with disabilities that was founded by one of the former staff at the clinic. He is now in an administrative position but continues to work to further this centre in Kaleo. From what we gathered, the focus is on people with musculoskeletal issues such as polio and paraplegia. There are many different ways that the centre brings in revenue which include producing purified drinking water, making soap, weaving cloth, sewing clothes, and producing modified bikes for the disabled. We all took a spin on the bikes and had a good laugh over our lack of skills.  Muriel comes to join us for a few days this next week and we'll be heading to another town to do some teaching at a nursing school there. Aside from that we will spend the remainder of our practicum days at the clinic. We are bonding with the staff and starting to feel more productive as we get a sense of the workload here. It's starting to sink in that we only have 4 more clinical days before we graduate!!!!  Thanks for reading, we really enjoy the chance to share our adventures with you! 

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