Thursday, May 20, 2010
The heat today is stifling. We have gone to a little village called Bassim Zim to do a mobile clinic. We took a forty-five minute drive along a narrow and bumpy dirt road to get here, ducking out of the way to avoid sticker bushes and tree branches. It was great to have an opportunity to see the country side and the handful of families that have gardens. The area where we are for mobile clinic has a small school with two different classes of about fifteen students each. They have class in one large room, each group in it's own corner. Goats are tied up along the back of the building and there are turkeys and chickens.
We set up clinic in a newly constructed concrete building. Our two translators found benches for the women to sit on and we used two benches put together as an exam table. The pre-natals happen here once a month and women are given the very basics--bp, checked for anemia, asked about previous births and any complications, fetal heart rate is assessed, and the position of the baby.
Last night we spent time packing up vitamin bags for the women all the donated pre-natals, iron, folic acid, and antacids. I am grateful that we had so many supplements donated and that I can put them to good use. We have another mobile clinic scheduled for Saturday at the Joseph's community, an area I am eager to visit.
The women we saw today (we only saw 6 as the priest forgot to announce we were coming during church) were all under 120 lbs and between 26 and 33 weeks. I was happy that only one woman had elevated blood pressure, as I had expected to see more of that. I have to say it was disappointing that we were unable to treat more women.
We are headed back to Azil this afternoon, the infirmary where starving children are treated. It is the most intense and heartbreaking part of our experience thus far and I am not sure anything will top it. The nuns need a lot of help cleaning, changing, and feeding the children. There are four rooms filled with cribs and a small child per crib. They all want and need love and attention and to be held, so that is what we will do with our afternoon.