Medical Clinics-A Typical Day
Roosters crow, sun comes up, the day begins…
The morning in the medical clinic starts with a lineup of patients. The triage person helps to identify those which are the sickest and innovatively move then to the front of the line. There is an intake person that gets vitals, name age or date of birth if known and their general complaint which may or may not be the actual problem, just like home. Then the practitioners examine the patients – with the aid of an interpreter, identifies the real concern, provides treatment if appropriate or if capability available. If theirs is a life threatening event which needs immediate attention, MFM will help the patient get to Kati or Bamako to be seen and treated.
We see and treat malaria, bacterial and fungal skin infections, respiratory infections, STIs, gynecological issues, burns, anemia, ear infections—many of the things we see and treat in the US. Practitioners utilize and perfect their physical diagnosis and communication skills. We can take nothing for granted – administering oral medication to a child can be a challenge, just to get the bottle open requires extra teaching time.
Even though we do not speak their language, the smile and hug we get for helping these people is very rewarding. A parent’s role is universal; they want the best they can get for their children and sometimes it is just reassurance that they are doing it right.
We come across chronic conditions which we have no means to treat out in the bush; this is the hard part. Our teaching efforts have and continue to make a difference, even if it is only for the few we reach ; it is a difference, and this is what we are there to do. We do make a difference!!
The sun begins to set. The line disappears we are hot and tired. We retreat to the compound, tell our days stories and re-energize with a good meal and some sleep. With the sun rise comes another days work- the line reappears…
Logistics and quarters: Clinic in Nana Kenieba is a nice building “u” shaped in design. There are 3-4 exam rooms and a treatment room and then in the back of the building is a large room with beds and cribs which we use as the infirmary. In the treatment room there is a large sink with water! There are four nice storage cabinets for supplies. There are solar panels to run fans/ lights when needed. It works most of the time, but runs out near sunset. Then work is done by flashlight.
MFM carries in our luggage all of our medical supplies and medications from the US. Team members give up their luggage allotment for the supplies. Our personal things we pack in what we can carry on a plane. It is amazing what we can get by without for two weeks; these people live without all the time