Tancan 2013 Medical Mission

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August 22nd 2013
Published: November 6th 2013
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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Mobile Clinic Day and meeting Taitus and Conason…..

Clinic Day 3: Today Renata and I got the chance to go on a mobile clinic to Mtetema Village. The road up to the clinic was a long bumpy ride. It took over 2 hours to drive there, even though the distance was not very long. The clinic was set up in the village school, community hall, and church. Every community event took place in the same room. The room had multiple purposes. It is incredible how the Tanzanian people do not waste anything. They take pride in what they do have and find ways to use the things they have for multiple purposes. When we were giving the children Frisbees to play with, they not only used the Frisbee to play with but also used the Frisbee as a serving plate for food. Canadians as a materialist culture can learn a lot from the Tanzanian people.

We took groups of 200 children at a time into the clinic. The sponsor children sat on the right side of the room and the village children on the left side. The children were very attentive and cute. They were wide eyed in anxiety as they did not know what was going to happen. A lot of them were in awe of seeing white people for the first time (Renata and I excluded because we are brown ;-) and a lot of the children were scared because they thought they were going to be getting a needle. One of the children pointed to their arm, indicating if we were going to poked them. We shook our heads to indicate no. We were only going to provide public health education today at this clinic.

The clinic started with the Hand Hygene briefing. Shirley explained the importance of handwashing and the steps for proper handwashing. Nathaniel, one of the De Paul Secondary School volunteers, translated for her. He spoke very softly and had to be told more than once to speak louder. All these Tanzanian kids speak so quietly. The Tanzanian children gave her a standing ovation after her presentation was finished.

After that Renata and Susan, went over nutritional assessment and why it is important to eat foods rich in vitamins. Then we helped them hand out Vitamin A and Deworming pills. Since many of the children walk bare feet and drink dirty water, worms can get into their system through ingestion and through their toe nails. Therefore, the deworming pills will kill the worms that are harming their bodies.

After, Renata and Susan nutritional health clinic, Agatha went over the importance of dental care and brushing your teeth and taking care of your eyes. She demonstrated the proper way to brush your teeth. Nathaniel was also her Swahili translator. He was a pro by the end of the clinic.

When Agatha was finished, it was the medical triage and assessment team turn (Colleen, a funny male Tanzanian nurse, Maximo, De Paul Secondary school volunteers, and moi). We took heights and weights, calculated BMI, temperatures and looked for fungal infections and malnourishment (in feet (toenails) and hair – discolouration and patchiness). If they required medical attention we sent them to “Dr.” Suzanne – the interim medical doctor in charge.

We went through almost 500 children that day, working not stop. We started with the sponsor children medical assessments and then with the village children. There was a vast difference in the health assessment of the sponsor children compared to children without a sponsor. Children without a sponsor presented with a higher degree of malnourishment and health problems. There was one little girl, who was very thin and unhealthy. Her BMI was below 3. I really hope that she gets the nutrition she needs and sponsorship to have a healthier future. The village was probably the worst area we seen in regard to the malnutrition of children. It is so vital and important to sponsor a child. With sponsorship, many of these children will get the nutrition, healthcare and education they need to grow up to become healthy active adults giving back to their community.

At the end of the clinic, Renata and I got to meet our Mom’s sponsor child, Taitus. He was a shy little boy, around the age of 10. We gave him the gift bag, Mom got for him which included markers, pencil crayons, and other stationary supplies to help him with school. He gave a video message saying thankyou to Mom. We also met Conason, another boy that needed a sponsor. Renata and I gathered donations to give him a gift as well. We were surprised when Conason’s father gave us a chicken as a thankyou present. It was unexpected. I would have liked to sponsor Conason, but my financial situation is currently in limbo. Susan also got a chicken from her mothers sponsor child family. The chickens were given to one of the social workers (a previous sponsor child).

Renata and Susan were freaked out about holding the chickens, so Colleen and I held them. However, they got the opportunity to get acquainted with the chickens because they rode in the back of the car with them on the way back to the school. Karma !! Even though the chickens were tied, they were squawking in the car all the way to De Paul Secondary school. However, the squawking of the chickens did not last long, and Renata and Susan were traumatized as the social worker killed the chickens in front of them, but at least they were quiet. At the end of the day, we celebrated the fact that we assessed the most amounts of children out of any of the clinic days we had so far. Way to go team!

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