First taste of Nursing in Africa…..
We began the day with a tour of the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. This is the largest hospital in Zambia. We thought we had an idea of what health care in a third world country would be like but seeing it firsthand was way different than what we had read in books or heard through stories. We started off with a tour of the pediatric malnutrition unit and were very overwhelmed by the number of severe malnutrition cases. There were 53 children in this ward and only two nurses working! We couldn’t help but think how differently these children would be nursed in Canada; probably one nurse for two babies. The ward was so hot and crowded, many children had to share cribs and parents were scattered sleeping on the floor or in the crib with their child.
There were four bays that the children go through as they are treated. Bay one holds the sickest babies and children, and as they get better, they move to bays two and three, and are then discharged from bay four. We walked through bay one with the sickest children first, and it broke our hearts. It was a relief to see the children in bay four to know that as they progress through the ward, their condition improves and they can go home. But it still makes us think about how they will do when they go home, and all of the diseases that being malnourished puts them more at risk for.
We ended the day tanning poolside, and for some of us, a good cry and talk about what we saw today. Tonight we are having a Braai (BBQ) for our last night here; which is quite typical for the Zambians, they love to braii Jessica says! A nice way to end our time in Lusaka, and then a new adventure in mongu begins… Excited but also wondering what type of emotions the hospital there will hold for us.