Volunteer Dr Bruce Slonim reflects on his 2014 and 2012 assignments
“The local staff continue to do an amazing job in a very difficult situation! Some health centres are providing excellent care.”
Patrol teams now have more equipment to encourage the weighing of patients, take temperatures, blood pressure and, where indicated, haemoglobin and blood sugars.
Over the past three years, ADI has supplied
The issue now is that this equipment is wearing out or broken.
Our patrols education has focused on malaria, post-partum haemorrhage and neonatal resuscitation. This includes the often lifesaving use of Misoprostol, medication that staff are now familiar with due to training.
The Hemocue machine also identifies those mothers at highest risk. Each delivery suite visited so far this time  now has a neonatal ambubag nearby with staff clear on its indication for use. This is a great improvement and I am sure it has helped to reduce the neonatal death rate.
The addition of a physiotherapist to patrol teams has meant that patients presenting with longstanding back hip and knee pain are being made aware of the chronic nature of their condition. They are taught how to care for their joints and given an exercise program, plus the inappropriate use of antibiotics for their pain is discussed.
Post-partum haemorrhage, the most common cause of maternal mortality, is now much better managed with posters on the wall and familiarity with the most recent treatment protocols.
We try to encourage villagers to come for ‘check ups’ when we visit their village and discuss the notion of keeping well rather than seeking help when sick.
Blood pressure and sugar levels are checked, haemoglobins when indicated, weights recorded etc.
The dentists now discuss smoking and betel nut chewing as part of their awareness and education sessions and offer checks for mouth cancer. This is also becoming much more popular and accepted.