OkaZHI: Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative

Sefula Clinic

This week was a change of pace. We worked out at Sefula clinic which we knew was far away but as we got in the cab Monday morning and started driving we realized just how far it was. It took us about thirty minutes driving away from Mongu, if we continued in the same road we would end up in Livingstone (according to Nawa our cab driver). We then turn down a gravel road for another ten minutes. The gravel road was so rough that Nawa preferred to drive in the ditch as it was a smoother ride. 
We got out of the cab and explored the clinic. We were surprised to find a male and female ward, a maternity and pediatrics ward with a labour room and incubator as well as an OPD and ART clinic. The clinic even had a small pharmacy and labratory. This clinic of course was on a much smaller scale than Lewinika General Hospital which we had just been at with only two admitted patients but nonetheless treated many outpatients and held clinics everyday for health promotion. 
We started in the ART clinic doing blood draws to count CD4 and then moved on to the OPD (out patient department or comparable to Emergency room) here the patients had to bring a notebook for the nurse to write in (no doctors at this clinic) and they sit down and explain their symptoms. Depending in the symptoms the nurse will either ask for a Malaria test, take some vital signs or prescribe medication. There was not a wide selection of medication and many patients left with Panadol (equivalent to tylenol) and antibiotics.  It was challenging to get used to letting go of needing to know what is wring with every patient like we do in Canada. Due to less technology and diagnostic equipment the condition is treated by the nurses best guess based solely in signs and symptoms. 
It was interesting to attend the health promotion clinics. Moms and babies travel up to several hours from small villages surrounding to attend the clinics. Everyday of the week is a different topic. The clinics were taught in Lozi so we did not understand much of what was being said but were happy to help weigh babies or give immunizations and thrilled to play with them. 
During our week at the clinic we were very shocked when we received word that a mom had delivered her baby on the side of the road because she had not made it to the hospital in time. (The mother in law was angry with her for not complaining of labour pains enough which resulted in them starting their walk to the clinic to late). We assessed the new little girl who was sleeping, 3.2 Kilograms and looked healthy. We then assessed Mom who had walked the remainder of the way to the clinic after delivering and was already up and walking around, packing her things getting ready to walk back home. We both adored the little girl for about ten minutes passing her back and fourth when the mom asked if we would like the honor of naming the little girl. After several suggestions and a lot of pressure Amanda suggested the baby be named Jenni which was a hit! Grandma, known here as KuKu started dancing around the room and danced her way out of the hospital singing and thanking god for a healthy safe delivery. And away they went down the gravel road with brand new born baby Jenni. 
During our time at the clinic we were blessed to have met and built connections with so many. We were even lucky enough to be given Lozi names. Amanda is now Limpo which means gift and Jenni is Tabo which means joy. As much as some days were slow and some days brought challenges we are both going to miss the unique and holistic experience we would never find back at home. 

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