A Visit to the Dadaab District Hospital
The helicopter did come but we were not the chosen ones to fly to Liboi to do a clinic instead the helicopter took some of World Concerns people to Liboi to concentrate on the water and toilet projects and then it was used to ferry WC people from Garrisa to Dadaab. Since they could only do two trips a day we were not the people that were factored into the helicopter flight.
So we spent our time restocking our bags with the promise that the district hospital director or his representative would meet us briefly and perhaps arrange for a visit. He was quite late for his meeting and after that our visit was scheduled for three in the afternoon.
The hospital was only down the road from us but we took the truck. It was quite small. At a quick glance, there was a small administrative building, an outpatient department with laboratory and pharmacy, TB/VCT (Voluntary Counseling Testing). The laboratory just provided dip stick for urine test, hemoglobin, rapid malaria test, TB culture, stool ova and parasite tests which are really all outpatient laboratory testing. Because of the hour of our visit, all the patients had been seen. There are TB and HIV medications in the clinic. The pharmacy itself was only modestly stocked.
We proceeded to visit the inpatient wards. The men’s and women’s wards each had a single patient. The man had profound anemia and had been transfused with 2 units of blood and he still appeared quite short of breath. The nurse who showed us around told us that he would be transferred to another hospital. The woman had an ulcerated wound that was being treated.
The pediatric ward was run by Samaritan Purse. There were three patients, one 4-year-old and two less than a year- old, all with severe malnutrition, quite emaciated. They all looked as though they were in severe pain and groaned or cried when disturbed. When asked if anyone had been tested for HIV, there was a pause and it seemed that HIV remains a stigma here and is hardly discussed. They seemed to want to believe that the thrush that these youngsters presented in their mouths were all due to their severe malnutrition which I think is a grave mistake. However the staff seemed very well trained and dedicated. These patients would be fed for 7 to 10 days and when stabilized would be sent home and referred to the nearest feeding station.
Lastly we went to see the maternity. They have 3 to 4 deliveries a week. The delivery room was empty, next to it was the theater which performed C-section and circumcision but was quiet this afternoon.
Many of the WC staff from Nairobi descended on us today courtesy of the helicopter. One of the senior staff drove us to the UN and we either had a good walk or a great run around the compound. It was not an interesting running path as far as scenery was concerned but it was certainly a change from running in the tight WC compound. I ran twice around, I think it might be about five and a half Km.
The rain came and went. At the end of the day a rainbow appeared in the sky.