Today, I went to my placement for the first time. To get there, I have to take what they call a “chicken bus”. Not sure where they got that name, I’ll have to ask. But basically they’re school busses that are painted the most RIDICULOUS colours, again I will have to get a picture and post it. It only costs 3QZ (less than 50 cents) to get to my placement, which is about 15 mins away. Some of the busses barely even stop to let people on and off, and there’s a guy whose job it is to hang out the door of the bus calling the name of the final destination.
My placement is a government – funded free clinic that takes patients not only from the town it is in, but also the surrounding area, where there are a lot of coffee plantations. The town it is in seems decently developed, but I’ve barely seen any of it. A sure indication that they’re poor, though, is that there is no toilet paper at the clinic, because when they put it there, it gets stolen since the people coming in can’t afford to buy it themselves.
There are various sections in the clinic: administration, triage/emergency (A single room where they do things like take out stitches etc), immunizations, family planning, pharmacy and the doctors office. There are 2 doctors, and today there were 3 nurses – the head nurse and two students. But students are only there for a couple of weeks, so I’m not sure how many nurses we’ll have on a regular basis. They seem really nice and are good at showing me what to do. While, normally, I’m supposed to start my day in triage, they didn’t have tons of patients and had finished that process by the time I got there this morning. I ended up working in the immunization area with one of the student nurses. Basically, I saw a lot of kids who were getting their routine vaccinations. This takes waaaay more time than it would at home because administration is done completely on paper with books of records – sometimes it can take a while to find their records. I didn’t actually give any immunizations today, although they said I’d probably be able to eventually. Today I took weights and heights as they came in, and gave Vitamin A – which comes in a little capsule that you have to empty into their mouths.
Looking forward to tomorrow, where hopefully I’ll be able to be slightly more independent now that I have a better idea of how things work. I should be able to see and participate in all parts of the clinic at some point, including doing things like taking out stitches and observing consultations with the doctor. Also – bonus is that they actually have an automatic blood-pressure reader…so I don’t have to learn to do it manually! Thank God!