Masanga Hospital eventually

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May 18th 2013
Published: May 18th 2013
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Dear All,

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


18th May 2013

Fascinating Account
Hi David and Jo. It is always a pleasure to read the notes of your adventure - it sounds as though you are experiencing a mixture of hard work, frustration and satisfaction. Your administration roles must be very different from those that Lionel and Penny Jarvis are enjoying in Doha! It must be Summer in the UK as we are currently at tea time on the third day of the first Test match at Lords v New Zealand although having spent 2 days at the ground in freezing conditions you would not know it! A close low scoring game in process with England currently just on top. Players and spectators could do with the sunshine and heat that you have and you could probably do with a small part of the vast sums of money being expended in the bars around the ground! Keep the accounts coming and just think about the temperatures that you can look forward to in St M next January. Best wishes, Andrew and Amanda Oakes
18th May 2013

Hi guys, just wanted to say a huge well done to you both, sounds really tough. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be not being able to treat people fully. Thinking of you both lots and sending you a massive hug. Lots and lots of love Ems xxxx
19th May 2013

Well done for getting there,and getting stuck into the problems of an African Hospital
We have enjoyed your blogs, and wish you all the best at Masanga. All well here, we had a good trip to China, and saw T & A in HK. With love from us both
21st May 2013

Wow-wee! xxx
Well done guys - you are already doing a fantastic job! Sounds like an incredible experience, rewarding but utterly frustrating. I bet you feel like you are bottom to middle of a big hill. THings are rolling but you have such a long way you want to go with things. Well done you and I bet by the time you leave you will be leaving it in a much much better situation. It all helps and I am sure all your patients and the locals will be so grateful of your hard work and dedication. What a great couple you are! All ok here in sunny Cyprus. The Red Arrows have been out training for the last 2.5 months which has been amazing. 3 practice displays a day. They have just been awarded their Public Display Award and wearing their red suits now. Before now I hardly knew them - a vague memory of them displaying over the farm when I was little (Grandpa was well connected!) and now i am an official groupie! Helen and I have even been up for a ride with them which was the most incredible experience. ANyway, no where near as important as your news - I am incredibly proud to be associated with you guys. What amazing work you are doing. Honor is chatting away and sends her love. Daddy home soon for his month off. I plan on visiting him in Libya in June or Sept too which I am looking forward to and will help me understand what his job involves. Just for 4 days but it will be worth so much more. Take care and I\\\'m loving the updates So much love Han xxxx
27th May 2013

hello from sunny Devon.
Hello, you guys sound like you are working so hard, well done to you, im sure its going to be one of the most rewarding experiences ever. News from Plymouth, well life pretty much goes on as normal, some sun and mostly rain, but hey, im sure you would love some rain. Im off work for the B/H and the queens birthday...Ive been at Davids out walking along the coast, it has been beautiful and there was some crazy coastal ultra marathon going on. I finished the Manchester marathon in 4.23 hours, and man I was knackered and in much pain from the 20 mile stage, cursing and wondering why I put my old body through it. Jan and I raised £1039.81 for combat stress so were very chuffed with ourselves. So have you entered the Sierre Leone marathon? not sure when you will get time to train, what with the long hours you are working. Jo not sure if you know Jo Meeks, the little physio from Drake, but she did the marathon D'Sable, across the Sahara, a week long race that equals upto 6 marathons... well she was 2nd lady and overall 22nd out of just over a thousand runners, how awesome is that... She has a free place to a Amazon marathon next year due to her success. All at Raleigh is pretty much the same, we are getting Mark Smith back in July, not sure if Davey is going yet. Chief and the PMO are going shortly and a few other staff so its all going to change. Its lovely to hear all of your news, Ive just spent the last hour looking at your fab photos, and catching up on your news, I especially laughed at David's comment about a particular meal being your worst nightmare, fish with bones and onions.....ha ha say no more. take care of each other and I look forward the next instalment luv Cherry xx

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