The work at the hospital here has been difficult but rewarding for our volunteers. There isn’t much equipment and it is quite understaffed. It’s unlike anything someone in the States would picture when they think of a “hospital.” And it’s certainly different from the hospital I was working at before coming here! That being said, it is an absolutely wonderful place to work that helps us to understand what sorts of things healthcare professionals are up against in other parts of the world. One intern, Ben, recently wrote that in one week, he “helped treat dengue fever, pneumonia, acute febrile illnesses, a mandibular fracture from a fight, and a patient who sliced open his fingers at the sawmill.” Our volunteers and interns going to the hospital usually are not sure what they will face that day. Another volunteer told me that during the morning, they took measurements of a pregnant woman, and checked the baby’s heartbeat. Oh it brought a smile to their face! And then that afternoon, a dead body from a nearby accident was brought in and they were asked to help it be processed. There’s sometimes nothing like working in healthcare to bring you face to face with the circle of life. So proud of the volunteers and interns I work with, and how they handle themselves in these varying situations. They are lights during the more intense situations, and they work happily and diligently on the more mundane tasks, always making a difference and following our team motto of “see a need, fill a need.”
Our interns and volunteers who work at the hospital are involved in a number of projects including:
-help in triage taking vitals and prepping patients to be seen by the doctor
-assisting on the doctors’ rounds
-assisting and teaching pre-natal classes
-public health campaigns about nutrition and breastfeeding
-outreaches to villages and schools on the island
-working in records.
The records are currently in one dusty bunker of a room, and there are SHELVES of them. Unfortunately they are completely unorganized, which means when a patient comes in, they aren’t able to find their chart, and often a new one is begun. If anyone out there who is reading this works in healthcare, that will make you absolutely cringe! It means that the patient’s complete history is unknown, making continuity of care difficult and inefficient. We hope that by working with the Rusi, the head of records, we are creating a system that will greatly improve care at the hospital. Rusi pretty much makes up the records department by himself, and has never been able to get to it, and it’s a privilege to work with him, and to help train others on how to use the system. We love all those we work with at the hospital!! We learn so much from them as we strive to contribute to their efforts in lasting ways.