Friday, February 10, 2012

Waiting Patiently

It has been about a month in Zambia and I must say that it has been a very valuable experience.  I was in OPD this week (kind of like Emergency).  It was very fast paced and I defiantly saw a lot of sick people. The first day we didn’t even have a blood pressure cuff so it was very hard to get proper vital signs for the patients.  I found it frustrating as this was the first contact we had with the patients and we couldn’t even get proper information that was needed to diagnose people or start treatment.  I was surprised at how patiently people waited to get their vital signs taken so they could see the clinical officer (like a doctor), no matter how sick they were.  For example, one boy had a cobra bite that had happened five days ago.  His arm was certainly in rough shape and he had a huge open sore on his hand and his fingers were black.   I ask myself why people do not seek medical attention sooner and feel angry at how people wait too long, sometimes even when it is too late. This boy is going to lose a part of his hand because it has been so long since he was bitten and it could have been easily prevented if he simply came in sooner.  But it is not that simple.  I keep forgetting that a lot of people have to travel or even walk a long distance so it’s not always possible to get the medical attention when they need it. They can’t just pay money to get transportation because not everyone can afford that luxury.   It can be hard for me to understand sometimes as in Canada as we have easier access to medical attention, and things like this situation can seem like neglect, when really there are not many other options for these people.   I was glad we were working as we had a chance to advocate for the sicker patients to see the clinical officer first because I don’t think that always happens.    I have no idea where the time is going but I wanted to say how much of a fabulous job all the UBCO nursing students are doing! One week left in Mongu and I am sure that this week will fly by too.

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