Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Lights, Camera, Action!


Giving out medications, assessing a child bought into the Emergency Room, delivering a baby. Just some of the everyday tasks that are performed at the hospital which in themselves are routine, yet when performed at night, in the dark, can prove to be near impossible and potentially hazardous.

Two huge, gas guzzling monsters of generators had to be switched on as absolute need dictated, but torches and lamps were used when possible. This was hardly an economical or efficient system, but it was what we had and we used it the best we could.

However, one thing that Chad does not lack is sunshine. And so we are in the process of harbouring its power to bring light the hospital 24:7. We are going solar!

So far we have solar in the Emergency Room, the Maternity Unit, the laboratory and the administration offices. This week has seen the wiring being installed in the four wards and this will be connected up to the batteries and the solar panels by the end of the week.

The staff and patients of the hospital are seeing the light!


In other news, our long awaited and much anticipated x-ray machine has finally been installed in our brand new Radiography Unit.

Ousman, Moussa and Victorian have been trained up in taking good images and the necessary safety measures. Since the installation of the machine about 4 weeks ago, the three have been busy snapping away enabling the diagnosis of several lung infections, broken limbs and the worse pelvic fracture any of the ex-pat doctors here have ever seen.

Ousman prepares for a morning of taking x-rays

The machine is not only enabling quick diagnosis of problems and being a source of income for the hospital, but it is also saving, at times very sick, patients travelling 5 km into town for their required x-ray.


Each and every day here continues to bring new challenges, breakthroughs, surprises as well as the mundane. The past few weeks have seen us treat and care for, amongst many others, several cases of severe cerebral malaria, temporary paralysis from various causes, amputations, skin complaints, babies born, some by caesarean section,  fractures, routine hernia repairs, rheumatic fever, complex chronic wounds, cleft lip repairs, many mysterious illness and the one closest to my heart, children with malnutrition. And this is just a small selection of patients in the in- patient service.

The laboratory continues to churn out result after result for the many patients requiring a whole host of tests, the pharmacy has dispensed many drugs and the outpatient clinics are frequently overrun with many seeking help, while those in administration and other supporting roles have worked tirelessly to enable the hospital to continue to function.

Manga working in the lab

Patients waiting for their appointments

Activity, as always, ebbs and flows, but overall seems to do much more flowing than ebbing!

With this in mind, plus the fact that hot season is making its presence known, I’m very much looking forward to a short escape from the activity and my upcoming 2 weeks retreat and holiday in South Africa!

Every two hours this little baby required syringe feeds. She is now home growing well!

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