Saturday, April 12, 2008

Public Health

This is a bit backwards, but since I didn't post this week, I'll write about it now.

There were a bunch of new volunteers this week, so to keep everyone from stepping on each other's toes, we got to branch out a bit. Christy and I took up an offer to spend the day with public health. Public health takes care of the immunizations and prenatal visits, they have a place on the BMC compound, and they also travel to villages.

We started out helping Issac, our friend, give some immunizations. We were pretty confused as to how to give them at first, because he told us they were to go intradermal. We were pretty sure he didn't mean sub-epidural, like when you make the little wheal for a PPD shot. Christy thought he meant then subcutaneous, so I give a subcutaneous shot to the next guy, and Issac is like no, let me show you. He proceeds to give the next shot intramuscularly. A tad confusing. I'm just going to have faith the Lord will overcome our inexperience, and bless the vaccinations anyways.

Mrs. Baaba runs public health, she told us they were heading out to 2 villages that afternoon. First for antenatal clinic, then to give meningitis vaccinations (they are experiencing an outbreak). Mrs. Baaba would come pick us up at our place after lunch. Mrs. Baaba is a character, I'm pretty sure she'd fit well in a Charles Dickens novel. She's not slight, she likes her way, and she can drive FAST. It made for an interesting journey. She took special delight in laughing at me, but curiously I really don't know why I made her laugh so much. After awhile, I just started being more silly the more she laughed at me. She and I worked together doing prenatal visits in the bush. Our clinic room, was a wooden table inside a closet filled with USAID bags filled with something, slightly different than your average American obstetrical visit, eh? I have fantastic pictures, but still haven't found my cord, so we will all have to wait patiently. If it wasn't entertaining enough to watch me try to remember my OB, have Mrs. Baaba, and three stunned local midwives watch me laughing (even more laughter when I let them use my camera, which they have never touched a camera before.....I will confess I lied and told them they took great photos, but in fact they cut off heads...forgive was too entertaining watch them try to take the picture), simultaneously they were burning a field right next to us, and holding school under a tree. Who knew it could be so busy in the bush.

From there we traveled to a village, close to where Tommy Harrison would take us to church. The village was called Tuuni. It was market day and we were giving out meningitis vaccines. Now in the US, you have to drag your child for a vaccination, in Ghana you practically throw your child at the man holding a syringe. We were crowded in from every side. It made sense though because the people wanted to be vaccinated (knowing there was an outbreak going on) and assuming we would run out of vaccine before everyone got it, which also happened.

As I said, it was market day, and we got some of the nurses to take us down to find some little treats. BUT the highlight of the day, and a very selfless act by my fantastic roommate, was that Christy gave up a ride on a moto back to Nalerigu, to give me the experience. Now we were WAY out in the bush. Mrs. Baaba thinks we have LOST our minds, why would anyone opt for moto. It happened, by the Lord's grace, I had brought scrubs with me. I ran into a building, ripped off my skirt, threw on scrubs, tied a scarf around my head (it happens Issac came with us when the dentist was here, and you might recall they were very specific that if I was to ride outside the lorry, I had to cover my head....well he was driving the moto, so the same rule applied).

I'm pretty positive that besides Christy, no one thought I would last the whole way back on moto. It's far for one thing. It's dirty. And the road is terrible. BUT I actually felt like it was less bumpy on moto because you could more easily avoid the bumps. Mrs. Baaba insisted she follow the whole way in her van, in case I gave up (which at least kept her speeding in check). She did, probably at Christy's suggestion, creep up on us and beep really loudly to try and scare me. I only laughed.

I came home dirty and happy.

Pictures to follow. In fact, I'll let you judge yourselves, how the midwives pictures turned out....that is if I didn't already delete them.


Anonymous said...

are there any more stops for you or is it straight home now??? im truly gonna miss your your blog. you should do one during you internship. first year interns have all the time in the world ;) right/? have a safe trip home. diane branchville

ESK123 said...

I spent the weekend in Accra, I leave tonight from Accra. My flight goes to Amsterdam, but only for a couple of hours. Then onto Newark, and back to the big B-ville! If I remember correctly, Friday very early I leave for the cruise out of Florida.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the blog. I do have many more pictures to post when I'm back at home.

Anonymous said...

by my calculations you are home in good old Branchville,probably with some jet lag!!Welcome home and enjoy that well deserved cruise !! mrs.h

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, This is Rod Bryant from the Jesse Brooks Foundation. We met at the Hostel when you were heading back to NJ. Joey and I have talked about you several times and wondered how things are going. One of our local doctors is going to the BMC in June of 2009 and he sent me a link to the websit from there. I found your blog from their site and wanted to contact you.
If you get this send me a note or call. Would just like to stay in touch. 256-298-1387 cell
God Bless