Sunday, October 16, 2011

Medical situation in Sierra Leone

Currently there are two nurses who work at the government run Community Health Clinic in Mokanji. They use one of the old hospital buildings for their clinic. I was able to talk with them for a few minutes to see what they are able to do for the people of the Mokanji region. One morning a week they have a prenatal clinic where they use a Pinard horn, not a doppler like we are used to using to hear the baby's heartbeat.
The nurses also take the woman's blood pressure, weight and give tetanus shots (when they have them). They don't have any urine test strips to check for protein or glucose or any medications to give for any problems or issues and have run out of the government supplied prenatal records to record the mother's information.

On Friday mornings the nurses hold an 'under 5 clinic' for children under 5 years old. They weigh children and measure mid-upper arm circumference to help determine nutritional status. It takes a month for a child to be able to receive Plumpy Nut (a nutritionally dense ready-to-use-food). However some of these children cannot wait a month. I saw one girl who was 13 months old and only weighed 13 pounds! I think that she has developmental issues because she would push out the mashed up banana with her tongue that we tried to feed her and would choke on the Plumpy Nut.
They have a few antibiotics that they have available to them when the goverment supplies actually get to them (not as often as they are supposed to).
I saw so many things that can be done to improve the quality of life and decrease the incidence and severity of illness with simple teaching and basic medications and supplies.

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