- Written by Tom Miles Tom Miles
- Created: 22 August 2017 22 August 2017
This morning our team was able to arrive at the clinic site a bit earlier where a large crowd was waiting. Some patients we were unable to see on Tuesday received numbers to allow them to be seen first today. The Pokot do have large families with many children, but it seems those with pre-registered numbers came back with their children as well as those belonging to relatives and neighbors. Each family unit receives a number, and then at time of registration each person being seen receives an individual registration paper. It seems people planned ahead for this today. Women were coming through with up to seven or eight children. The morning began with the large crowd receiving a Gospel message from Pastor Dave and Reverend Moses. Those gathered cheered at the end of the message, so it seems it was well received.
Today we were able to provide medical and spiritual care to 321 patients. The flow of the clinic was slower in the morning due to all of the children being seen. It takes a longer amount of time to check vitals, triage, and provide medical consultation when there are multiple children in each family unit. Midway through clinic we had to change the process and ask the family to register the one child in the family who was the most sick and in need of healthcare. This modification really assisted with clinic flow. However, there were still many people waiting, and we unfortunately did not have enough time to provide care to all. In the last one or two hours of clinic, Sarah and one of the Ugandan providers went out into the crowd to triage and assess who was sick and most in need of medical care. This was a daunting and challenging task for these two medical personnel.
Despite the challenge of not being able to provide care to all patients, we were able to reach many who benefited. One child presented with a severe case of malaria where his spleen had enlarged immensely. Malaria continues to be a prominent diagnosis in this area. Today 60 of 61 malaria tests came back positive for 19% of the patient population seen today being infected with malaria. Other medical concerns treated today include ear infections, urinary tract infections, asthma, allergies, upper respiratory tract infections, and several wounds. Many patients report generalized body pain related to manual labor and the local lifestyle. Headaches are also a common chief complaint and are most likely related to dehydration. We did have one positive HIV test today, and the Ugandan medical personnel were able to provide counseling and resources for the patient.
One benefit of working with the local healthcare providers is the friendships that develop amongst the team members. One of the translators today, an operating room technician, was sharing his family story and the history of this area. Many of the local tribes historically have been enemies, and the tribes were known for stealing cattle from each other, which may lead to murder and other dangerous crimes as well. In recent times, within the last ten years, the government has stepped in to assist with the brutality. The government has removed the weapons from the villages, which limits the ability to steal cattle effectively, and the government officials will become involved if cattle is stolen. Roads have also been developed in these more remote areas and allow the tribes to communicate and be more accessible to each other. Many of the local tribes continue to be enemies, but it seems the fierceness of the rivalries has subdued a little. However, the local healthcare workers report that even in the hospitals the tribes choose to be on opposite sides of the hospital wards to segregate from each other.
Our team has enjoyed homemade meals all week that have been prepared for us on charcoal fires by a team of women working tirelessly. They prepare rice, beans, and posho (corn maize flour and water) each day. Today the Pokot village donated a goat for our lunch as a thank you gift.
Clinic ended today with the packing up of all the supplies. Tomorrow we will travel back to Lopedot to provide care to the people there. Lopedot was the original site for the clinic, but after the bus was unable to reach the proposed clinic site the plans for the week were changed. This week we have heard there are many people waiting there for our care as the clinic was advertised in the area. The team also observed the great need for medical care in the community while interacting with the villagers while the bus was stuck. Bishop elect Bameka from the Lutheran Church of Uganda and two LCMS missionaries to Uganda arrived tonight in a four wheel drive vehicle. The district health office has also offered the use of a four wheel drive vehicle. The plan is for the bus and supplies to travel to Lopedot with the two 4×4 vehicles coming along to provide backup and assistance if needed. These additional vehicles will also assist with the delivery of supplies and workers to the clinic site. We are anticipating a productive day tomorrow serving those awaiting our arrival in Lopedot.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?