It is an interesting thing reflecting on the nature of care I saw in Guyana. I found myself struggling to keep up with state of the art techniques while practicing in a setting having to comply with the status quo. My favorite mental exercise while practicing down in this resource poor environment was “what drug can I give this patient today”. So much of the time in the states the answer is fairly easy and has a protocol behind it. Often the hospital in Georgetown would run out a typically used drug, which forced me to stop and think. I feel this made me a better physician.
Dan and I will be blessed with plenty of gifts, plenty of diapers and onesies and gear (...my goodness, all the gear!)... So if you want to offer a special congratulations on our big news, jump over to my fundraising page to leave a message and a gift in support of Hope Through Healing Hands.
I was lucky to have travelled to Kijabe at an exciting time; there has been an increase in awareness in the medical community about the lack of access to safe anesthesia in low-middle income countries. The GE corporation has been prescient and magnanimous in their support of the efforts by anesthesiologists at Vanderbilt to create a sustainable program to educate Kenyan nurse anesthetists on how to provide a safe anesthetic.
Data is important. Because of data collection and monitoring, UNICEF can report that, “On average, one out of every 11 children born in sub-Saharan Africa dies before the age of 5.” In this example, data demonstrates the magnitude of the problem and serves as a catalyst for people to come together to develop strategies and implement programs to improve child health. Then, with continued data collection and monitoring, progress towards reducing child mortality can be measured.
Humanitarian photographer Esther Havens tells the incredible story of photographing the mother and baby in Rwanda, that later became the cover photo for The Mother & Child Project. Six years later, Havens returned to Rwanda to see what had become of the mother and baby that had meant so much to her for all these years.
Once a week I spend the day following LCA’s community health workers (CHW) from home to home to visit families in the Thrive Thru 5 program. This is probably one of my favorite days of the week.
A Kenyan nurse anesthetist asked me what it was like to work at Kijabe. After my first week here, I thought, it’s just like being at Vanderbilt, but with less resources and all African patients. The care provided at AIC Kijabe is likely the best in rural Kenya and likely the best care you can receive outside of Nairobi.
The wonderful organization Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation graciously gave Belmont University a grant to offer a fellowship in global health with a focus on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to one of the students in the College of Health Sciences. With my calling to teach natural family planning and my passion for global health, I applied with hopes to expand my knowledge and create the beginnings of my life work, setting up a path for my future.
This is my last week in Guyana and I can truly say that I am going away from this experience as a better clinician. I have been stretched in ways that will serve me well when I return to the States. Not having the luxury of many tests and medicines that I am used to has made me depend more on my physical exam and lean on my Guyanese colleagues to teach my what they do in this resource limited setting.