How are you all and has the summer arrived yet? We apologise for the lack of any contact for a while but Masanga has the most appalling reception and Internet so connecting with the outside world is a constant difficulty. Contacting relatives to reassure them of our health is difficult enough, let alone trying to conduct a professional relationship with the rest of the world. It's a frustrating process and this is short account just to let you know what we are up to.....and for you to appreciate any cold weather you are having!
Below is a small account of where we are up to so far written by Jo.
Well we have done 3 weeks of work now and feel completely immersed into the Sierra Leonean life at the hospital. Because of another physio volunteer from Denmark, who has been here already for 3 months, I have gone head first into teaching 4 future physio 'aids' who will take over the job when we leave. She has does a great job and luckily both our ideas are very similar so what I thought I wanted to do, she has basically got the ball rolling and we are now working together to teach these aids and open a new Physio dept. She has already managed to secure funding for this so to be honest I turned up and felt a bit like a spare part as she has done such a good job! However it became very apparent that there is no management whatsoever in the hospital so somehow I have become part of the management team and am heading up the recruitment of a field co-ordinator who will ultimately run the hospital and let the docs get on with doing medical stuff. I am not entirely sure how this happened and am not sure how qualified I am to do the job but I am still teaching every other afternoon and doing clinical stuff every morning so I am still mostly a Physio. But it gives me a project which I can get my teeth into and will hopefully have a useful consequence.
David has been working 12 hours a day in the admissions ward and seems to be knee deep in very poorly babies, malaria and Acute abdomens as well as chronic lumps and bumps. I go there after the afternoon teaching ends and am slowly learning about various awful diseases.
The main purpose is that we all teach, in our various ways and the Community Health Officers (3 year qualified doctors) are really keen to learn so the docs here get on well. David has also stepped up into the administration role and is in charge of overseeing the pharmacy and the ordering of drugs, which is good as at least he knows what the hospital has! The nurses, all 3 of them......look after the nursing aids, who despite any significant education do their best in a difficult situation. Ultimately a lack of meds, cleaning equipment, space and food mean that their job is pretty difficult but the patient brings in a "caretaker" so at least cleaning, feeding and positioning is all the responsibility of the caretaker. The hospital suffers from what all African hospitals complain off and that is a lack of money. Medications run out and people die as there is no money to buy more. Its doesn't effect me so much in my physio world but in the admissions department, you can imagine how disastrous it is. Funding, coming from Denmark, UK, Norway and Holland helps and just about keeps the hospital alive but as we are finding out , it's a constant battle each month to make ends meet.
Anyway we hope you are all well and keep us up to date with what is going on in the UK. Love to you all and we will try and put some photos on next time.
Sweaty Dr. David and gently glowing Mrs. Jo Xxxx
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