Saturday, October 26, 2013

BSMMU Children's Cancer War

Here are some photographs from my work at BSMM (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, essentially a large teaching hospital and university).  I am working on the children's cancer (oncology) ward.  Some of the activities of the oncology ward are sponsored by World Child Cancer as part of the partnership between BSMMU and University College London (England) and BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver.  This project sponsors the creation of a database to register all cancer patients at the time of diagnosis as well as covering part of the cost of chemotherapy.  

More details coming soon...

More stuffed toys arrive from World Child Cancer

DHL man assures us that the count of toys is correct....but where is the second box?  (He flatly denied its existence, it then arrived 2 days later)

Doing rounds on the ward with Dr. Islam.  

This little guy woke up just long enough to put his hand on Dr. Islam's, then dozed off again...

You thought hospital food in Canada was bad...this is what the patients get for lunch and dinner, every single day it is the same thing.  It costs the hospital about $1 per day to feed each patient.  Unfortunately this food is spicy and children in Bangladesh do not eat spicy food.  So none of the children will eat this food.  This means the the parents have to prepare some food at the bedside for the child to eat, which is not very hygienic.  One of the goals of the World Child Cancer project is to educate the parents about while foods are healthy and safe for their child with cancer.  

16 bed cancer ward.  There are 4 slightly more private "cabins" in the back.  These cost $2/night.  Otherwise there is essentially no privacy, everything happens in full view of all the other patients.  One parent will stay with each child at night, sleeping in the bed with them.

Parents, brothers and uncles of some patients.  These gentlemen helped me to decorate the walls of the procedure room (behind them). 

A lovely little girl with cancer who was coming for a spinal tap today.   Parents are both with her.

Walls of the procedure room after decoration.  Currently spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies are being done without any form of sedation or pain relief.  I am working to develop a safe and simple plan for pain and sedation medications to be given to the children before these procedures.  The wall decorations are part of our non-pharmicological strategy to help the children be more calm during the procedure, by using distraction we are able to help children cope better with pain.  

Dr. Rasel giving a talk on nutrition to the parent group.  This is a group of parents whose children all have cancer.  They are hoping to form a foundation and start to support and educate parents when their child is newly diagnosed with cancer.  Dr. Rasel is very keen to help this group with their activities.  They were very excited to have me visit their meeting.  The father on the far left even gave a very nice little speech about how happy they were to have me join the meeting (he is a math professor in Chittigong)

The streets of Dhaka

Every day when I travel to BSMMU (the hospital where I work), I spend about an hour and a half in traffic in total.  As I have a driver, this is a great time to observe the life on the street in Dhaka.  Traffic is pretty crazy, but I do occasionally drive myself.  Mostly only on Fridays when traffic is lighter.
Sitting in traffic.  Rickshaws try to out-maneouvre cars here all the time.

Bridge on my way to work.  One of the few roads without any traffic.

A whole truck full of garlic...Antoine this if for you! (although, they have not figured out how to make hummus yet)

Auto rickshaw (called CNG here) waiting in traffic beside my car. 

Generalized chaos at a round-about.

Zipping through the city in the early morning.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Back in Dhaka!

Well the weather hasn't changed in Dhaka in the 2.5 weeks when I was gone.  It's still hot and humid, although perhaps a little less so.

I am back at work here after a few days break to recover from jetlag.  Last week was Eid, which is not a good time to be a goat or a cow or even a camel as many families buy one of these animals and slaughter it as part of the celebration.  The animal is butchered right on the street outside the house!  I am not including any pictures of this but it does lead to some gruesome sights walking down the street.  The meat is then distributed to friends and neighbours as well as the poor. You see many people walking around with bloody plastic bags filled with meat!

As a friend of Dan's put it:  "Mary had a little lamb...not any more!"

More photos coming soon...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hiking in Calabogie

Jolene and I 

Ben, you probably shouldn't eat that mushroom....