Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ethiopia July 2008: The first few days

And so it began. The full team arrived, and within eight hours after having a few hours of sleep, the team began to get ready for a week's worth of clinics. Most of the medications arrived all of which needed to be packaged and labeled. And this was all being completed just as the clinic was starting. The first day began with everyone getting used to their areas of responsibility and assignments as the patients came in. Everyone became more comfortable with what they needed to do by the end of the first day. We saw 408 patients and the dental team saw 72 patients. On second day we had a wall of massive patients in the clinic area with rain falling outside and controlled chaos on the inside. By the end of the second day we had seen 512 patients and the dental team had seen 88 patients. For the first time on our medical mission trips we had a dental team led by Dr. John, who is with World Dental in Ethiopia. He had with him for local dentists who practiced with him and will be traveling with us as we go up north. In addition, we had lab technicians, nurses, and 10 local physicians, who joined us at various times with specialties ranging from general pediatrics to internal medicine, nephrology, cardiology, and ophthalmology. We started our Rapid Nutritional Assessment program as well, and have generated valuable information regarding the nutritional status of the children using WHO standards. We are now able to recognize those children who are mildly, moderately, and severely malnourished. Pharmacy has been expertly run, and is also staffed with an Ethiopian pharmacist and Ethiopia pharmacy student. It is always an incredible experience to work side by side with the local healthcare team as we care for the forgotten children together. We leave tomorrow for remote areas half of the team traveling by plane to Bahir Dar and the other half of the team traveling by bus to Zeway, where both teams will spend the day doing clinic's, spending the night, and then doing clinics the following day before returning to Addis. All in all, the first two days have been rewarding, gifted, and blessed.
In all things give thanks,