Today was our last of 5 days helping out and learning at the African Bible College Clinic. We all got exposed to a variety of different areas within the clinic, including the work of the doctors and nurses, as well as the lab and pharmacy.
Daniel, Olena and Mariel followed the doctors and clinical officers at the community and private sides of the clinic. It was very interesting to see medicine being practiced in the different context of Malawian culture. The community side consisted of patients that were unable to afford basic medical care. These patients came in with various conditions from common colds to malaria, machete wounds, and abscesses. The clinical officers took histories, prescribed medicine, and advised for further action as they asked questions and listened to the patients’ stories. The community side of the clinic showed the definite need for basic healthcare while those who came to the private side of the clinic were able to afford private appointments. We’ve learned a lot not only about practicing medicine but the culture and unique stories of the people.
Bryan was able to enjoy God’s surprising provision when he found out that an engineer worked at the Clinic, heading several projects. On Wednesday, Bryan went with a small team from the clinic and a group called E3 international that is a engineering group focused on village development. The group drove up to a small village called Gusu which is 1 ½ hours north where E3 is putting in a well that will supply the local school with water. The team toured the area and took some data where the well was punched. A shipment of solar panels is en route from the States to power a pump that will supply the water. This has been an amazing experience for Bryan as he has had the privilege of talking to two engineers about the myriad of things that go into undertaking a project. As well, Bryan got to go shopping around town for a temporary pump for the well as well as draw up schematics for the piping system of the well.
Gretchen has gotten the opportunity to know many of the nurses and got to take a lot of vital signs! A lot of what the nurses at the clinic do is draw blood for testing for various diseases, but they also provide treatment to patients at the “ward,” which is basically a building for overnight patient stays. Most patients are here for malaria—it was astounding to see how many cases of this were present even though this is the winter season where mosquito populations are the lowest.
Sarah has done a little of everything, from working with nurses one day, to working in the pharmacy, shadowing a doctor, and her favorite—helping out in the lab.
Yesterday the girls (Gretchen, Sarah, Mariel and Olena) got the opportunity to travel along with a mobile epilepsy clinic in which doctors met with patients to update treatment plans and prescribe medications. Some patients walked for as many as five hours to get there. In addition, food provisions were passed out for all, especially children who were malnourished and underweight. Even though we only helped in small ways, it was amazing for us to be involved in an opportunity like this and to witness the ways in which ABC Clinic aims to provide treatment, as well as food, for those who desperately need it.
This weekend we will get some time to rest, but we will also be returning to three places where we have been previously. Tomorrow we will revisit the Crisis Nursery and Chitipi Children’s Home, and on Sunday we will attend Flood Church again.
We’re all done at ABC Clinic now, but we’ll be working with some of the same doctors, nurses and other staff members next weekend as we help our with a two-day mobile clinic in the village of Gusu.
Thank you so much for all of your continued prayers during this time. We are so blessed to be so supported as we seek after God’s will for us here. We will try to update again soon.
-Gretchen, Bryan & Daniel (and the rest of the team)