The Medical Clinic (run by Triple A and Diocese of Rumbek) in Gordhim serves a large area in Aweil East country – people will walk from miles around to access the medical services provided here. On each trip to South Sudan CASS delivers a shipment of medical supplies to help keep this clinic stocked. In January 2008, Janet Tufts (Director of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame), along with other CASS volunteers, delivered much needed medicines and physicians’ travel packs donated by Health Partners International. The need for medicine is overwhelming – when the proper medication is not available, it means that inferior medicines must be substituted, or the patients must try to find and purchase the medicines themselves from the local markets. Following are three stories from Janet Tufts of actual patients, and how they benefited from the supplies.
Stories from the Medical Clinic – Ahok and her baby, Dend
Ahok walked over three hours to Gordhim with her 10-month old baby boy Dend. Dend arrived at the clinic on January 16, 2008 malnourished and dehydrated. He had been sick since June 2007. The doctor and nurses thought Dend was anemic and decided to take him and his mother to the closest hospital in Aweil (45 km away) where they were hoping he could get a blood transfusion. The hospital was unable to help Dend.
The next day, back at the Gordhim Medical Clinic, Dend went into crisis. The doctor (Sylvia from Slovakia) prescribed Cetril which had just arrived from Health Partners the previous day. Unfortunately, Dend was unable to keep the medication down – he was constantly throwing up.
Sylvia and the nurse (Harriet from Uganda) agreed that Dend needed IV. Getting IV into little Dend’s hand was a huge challenge for Sylvia who had only been in Gordhim for one week and had received only minimal training on caring for malnourished children. The latex gloves provided by Health Partners came in handy during this procedure.
Poor little Dend suffered through two attempts with the IV – one in each hand. It was clearly very painful for him but he was unable to shed tears due to his dehydration. His cries were mere whimpers as he had not an ounce of energy.
The only “tool” the health care professionals had to comfort their little patient was one of the dolls from Health Partners. It provided a glimpse of hope and calmness amidst the commotion and uncertainty of this medical crisis. Thankfully, Dend survived the ordeal.
Mary was one of approximately 100 pregnant women who arrived at the prenatal clinic in Gordhim on Thursday, January 17, 2008. The prenatal clinic is open every day but on Thursdays they offer educational sessions which draw larger crowds. Mary waited over three hours in the hot sun to be seen by the nurse. The nurse’s name was Harriet; she was from Uganda and had been at the Gordhim Medical Clinic for six months.
Mary was roughly 29 years old and 30 weeks pregnant. She was complaining of a productive cough that had been lingering for over two weeks. The ideal medication for Mary’s symptoms was amoxicillin.
Thanks to the arrival of amoxicillin from Health Partners the previous day, Harriet was able to provide Mary with a dosage right then and there. Otherwise, Harriet would have had to give her a prescription for amoxicillin and send her to the market (which she may not have had money for) or give her a less-effective medication (i.e. erythromycin).
Aweng, and her baby, Achien
Aweng walked a half hour with her baby, Achien, to the Gordhim Medical Clinic on January 17, 2008. A half hour is not far compared to the distance that most people travel to this clinic. It is the only one for miles around and has a good reputation.
Achien was six months old and her symptoms were diarrhea and a cough – exactly what amoxicillin is perfect for. If it weren’t for the arrival of this product from Health Partners the day before, the doctor (Sylvia from Slovakia) would have had to prescribe a lesser-quality drug (i.e. cloxacillin).
Sylvia was overjoyed with the amoxicillin from Health Partners for two reasons: 1) the quality of the medication is much better than what they normally get from Kenya; and 2) they are desperately in need of it in powder/syrup form for children. Sylvia commented that she would have to ration the amoxicillin as it is the most needed medication.
Syvia was pleased to be able to give Achien one of the handcrafted dolls from Health Partners. The language barrier makes it difficult for the doctor to create a bond with her young patients and the dolls help to make a connection – and bring a smile.