Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shekhinah- Dr. Abdulai's Clinic - A Place of Love and Compassion

While in Tamale we had a wonderful opportunity to attend Dr. Abdulai's free clinic called Shekhinah. The clinic is run entirely volunteers and all services and care are provided for free. People line up outside the clinic in the morning, and are registered on a first come first served basis.  They register 15 men and 15 women for a total of 30 patients per day. If there is a more serious or acute case they are given priority. 
Azi - Our Guide and Resident of the Clinic
The clinic houses residents with mental health challenges, those who cannot live on their own, people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and palliative patients. There are a total of 26 residents at the clinic. They are provided 3 meals a day.

Dr. Abdulai also provides free hernia surgeries. After surgery patients get their own room to recover in for 1 week. The rooms are constructed by the communities who use the clinic, so when a patient is recovering from surgery, they stay in the room constructed by their community.  Once their sutures are removed and there are no signs and symptoms of infection the patients are discharged home. 
The OR Suite

The clinic has 2 gardens they use to grow fruits and vegetables for the residents of the clinic. We brought them 4 bags full of different types of seeds to plant and grow. One garden is used during the dry season and the other is used during the wet season (around this time of year). There are 3 big beautiful mango trees that provide shade throughout the compound, and we were treated to mango right from the tree both days we were there.  
Palliative Care Residences
We had a wonderful opportunity to hear Abrahim's story.  He is a man who lost his leg due to an infection at the age of 15. He came to Dr. Abdulai's clinic as he had been disowned by his family. The staff at the Tamale Teaching Hospital contacted Dr. Abdulai, and arrangements were made for Abrahim to move to the clinic.  Today he is happy, healthy, and  very thankful to be alive.  He currently does work around the clinic to show his appreciation for what the clinic has given to him. His story touched our hearts.

Abrahim - Resident and Volunteer

One of the days Samaya and Kyla took out sutures while Christina was at dispensary (pharmacy), and Nicole worked in the OPD.  When we were finished the staff asked us to make and fold envelopes for medications given out at the dispensary.  It was very relaxing and nice to know we were doing something the clinic would utilize.  

On our final day at the clinic a resident with mental illness was experiencing some difficulty.  Her behaviour escalated quite rapidly, and we were able to witness what non-judgmental, compassionate care looks like.   The staff and other residents did not respond with anything other than kindness. They gave her the space she needed and continued on with their work.  They did not make a big fuss, or try to get her to calm down.  They allowed the situation to just unfold as it needed to.  Within a short period of time all was well.  She had settled.  She gave Jeanette a gift of rocks she had picked up from the ground, went to her room, and fell asleep.  It was the most amazing thing to witness because at home we would probably have called an emergency (code white), physically restrained her and given her medication to sedate her.  It didn't take us long to recognize we could learn much from this situation.  

We had the pleasure of giving the staff at the clinic a donation from the Global Nursing Citizens.  It is nice to know the money given to them will be utilized very well.  All of their food, supplies, medication, and services rely on external funding and donations.  They were so very thankful. 

Two days that have changed our perspective on so many things.  Charitable work, living kindness and compassion and a new approach to mental health.  WOW!

All this and the lunch program.  Pretty incredible.

- Kyla

1 comment:

  1. Dear Kyla,

    Your account of Dr. Abdulai's clinic is a beautiful story of community development, inter-sectoral care (gardens and grace and the best health care that can be mustered) - and commitment to service.

    AND learning - for sure! When you talk about the approach to the upset woman, it makes me wonder if we sometimes at home, we resort too quickly to over-bureaucratic protocols when it may be that all someone needs is some compassion, some calm, and a safe place to be.

    Your story reminds us that whatever illnesses we are dealing with, we need as nurses to first and foremost see the humanity of our patients - and to try the least invasive measures possible unless the severity of symptoms suggest imminent deterioration, or compromise to the safety of others. Hrar to remember sometimes when we get overrun with tasks and competing priorities - essential to practice if we hope to give the best possible nursing care. Thanks for the reminder,

    Tricia Marck