- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: June 17 2019 June 17 2019
Our first clinic day for our Mercy Medical Team in Tanzania went well. On our way to the clinic site in Kahe, we picked up the personnel from the district medical office who are working with us this week. Many of them have worked on MMTs before and are familiar with the flow and treatment plan. These personnel include doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacy personnel and clinical health volunteers. Many of the Tanzanian healthcare workers are paired with our MMT members to serve as interpreters and guides for healthcare in Tanzania.
The clinic this week is being held in Kahe, the same town where our team worshipped yesterday. The clinic is being hosted within the local school building. Two of the LCEA pastors grew up in Kahe and know the head teacher at the school from their childhood. He has graciously allowed us to use the building this week. The school grounds really allow us to spread out, create an efficient clinic flow and allow patients to wait in the shade.
The typical clinic flow is similar for all MMTs. Local pastors begin the process by registering patients. This process is quite organized with groups of twenty patients being brought through the line at a time. The patients then hear a Gospel evangelism message from Pastor Charles with translation assistance into Swahili from a local pastor. Kristal and Nelly then measure vital signs while Chris and Mark obtain the patients' weights. From there, the patients move to the second school room to complete nursing assessment and triage with Kay, Kimberly, Laura and Rita. Patients then proceed to see the physicians. A treatment room is available for medication injections, wound care and other treatment needs. Kristin is working in the treatment room and providing physical therapy treatment plans for patients. A room is set up for laboratory testing, such as malaria, urinalysis and blood sugar. A separate room is available for HIV testing and counseling. Finally, the patients check out through the pharmacy with Vicki and other team members where prescription medications are filled and explained to the patients.
This year new safety precautions have been implemented to ensure our clinics only provide help and not harm. The goal is to spend quality time with each patient providing safe care. The medical record forms have been updated to include many more assessment items and even patient education. We are ensuring patients are able to follow-up with a local clinic prior to beginning them on medications for a chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure. There are three main goals of the MMTs: (1) to connect patients to their local church, (2) to connect patients to their local health care workers and (3) to provide physical and spiritual care. Throughout our first clinic day, we were able to meet these goals.
This evening we arrived back at the hotel later than planned and had dinner, debrief and devotions. We look forward to the second day of clinic and settling into and smoothing our flow.
“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?