Today we mixed it up and split up into two groups. Sara, Ellee, Elisa, and Nicole stayed at Chidamoyo while Kendra, Lisa, Ben, Brian, and Sam headed out to do outreach visits in villages about an hour from here. First though, we all presented an in-service to the nursing staff on transfer techniques that will help protect their backs and make moving patients more efficient.
Following our in-service, Ellee, Elisa, and Nicole went on rounds with Dr. Mudzingwa. The doctors typically spend about an hour every morning going around to all the patients in the wards and making notes for the nursing staff on any changes in medication regimens or to otherwise modify their plan of care. It was interesting to get a sense of the patient population here at Chidamoyo. While there is an incredible variety of diseases and diagnoses, we were also struck by the prevalence of both HIV and tuberculosis. It was also eye opening in terms of how lack of resources can impact medical care. For example, there is one medication that is considered the “best” for treating meningitis, which is a common sequela of HIV. The medication can affect potassium levels, which are crucial for cardiac function. Because Chidamoyo doesn’t have the equipment to test for potassium levels they are unable to give this medication and therefore have to give something that is not as effective. Also, although Chidamoyo has an ultrasound machine, their doctors and nurses are not trained to estimate the size of the fetus. This leads to a higher number of late c-sections having to be performed on baies that are unable to be birthed vaginally because they are too large. These late c-sections are considered riskier for both the baby and mother.
While the students were on rounds at Chidamoyo, Brian, Sam, and Ben piled into the jeep with Kendra and Lisa, along with the village health worker Mr. Miga, to go out and visit two villages. We set up shop at the Batanayi primary school, where we consulted with some kids and their families to help improve their mobility. After a quick lunch on-the-go, we visited two families in Bushungwe to see two older children with severe disabilities. Both families were very welcoming, showing us around their homesteads in the beautiful valley. One family was busy preparing for a big celebration marking the passing of a relative, complete with homemade sorghum beer! The family visits went well, and it was good to venture outside of Chidamoyo.
Those of us who stayed at the hospital spent our day seeing patients in both inpatient and outpatient. One of our more interesting cases today included fitting a cervical collar on a man who had fallen head first into a 13-meter well. Never a dull moment here at Chidamoyo!