Friday, October 8, 2010

More medicine, more adventures

I haven't been crossing anymore rivers in rental cars this week, so this post won't involve any loss of life or limb to wild animals.

Wednesday, I spent the day working at the Princess Marina Hospital with Dr. Parth.  He's the only pediatric hematologist/oncologist (cancer/blood doctor) in all of Botswana.  PMH is the large general hospital which is right beside the Baylor Clinic.

Since this is one of my areas of interest, I was thrilled to be able to spend some time learning from him.  HIV infection can be associated with cancer, especially Kaposi's Sarcoma, and this isn't something which I have ever seen in Canada.  As I followed him around the pediatric ward, I was amazed at how active to the children were.  Despite receiving chemo, most of them were running around the ward, dashing between the park outside in the courtyard and their beds in the "oncology" ward.

Again, I was impressed at how well the health care system is able to provide for them.  Their hospital stays, chemotherapy, and all the equipment was free.  Several children were from very far away and they were mostly being kept in hospital because it was too far for them to go home and come back before their next treatment.  When they did need to go home, they are provided with transportation home at no cost!

There are major issues with the supply of medications, and at times it is impossible to get some medications which are essential such as certain antibiotics or anti-epileptics.  Since Botswana did not have a medical school until this year, many of the doctors working here are from neighbouring African countries or further afield.

The remainder of the week, I spend in HIV clinic and the good news is that I'm now ready  to see patients alone!  I'm looking forward to the adventures awaiting me next week...including another flying visit to an even more remote part of the country.

The Baylor pharmacy, the clinic dispenses all meds for the patients after they're seen by the doctor.
The pharmacy has most of the medications we need, most of the time, which is better than most places.

The Botswana-Baylor Centre of Excellence; this is where I am working each day.

Baylor clinic waiting room (usually fulled with patients, their parents, babies sleeping on the ground, etc.
The pharmacy is where I'm standing to take this picture.

Pediatric Ward at the Princess Marina Hospital.  There are four patients side-by side along this wall of the "cubical", there are four patients facing these ones on the other side of this cubical.
There are plenty of windows in each cubical and the windows help with ventilation since TB isn't always isolated.

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