středa 28. října 2015

Volunteering in Leklebi Duga Health Clinic

Duga Health Clinic is a small healthcare facility providing basic services such as diagnosis and treatment of minor diseases, dispensing medicines, routine vaccination programme, antenatal and postnatal care. The medical staff includes one medical practitioner, two nurses and housemaster. One of the major services provided by clinic is childhood routine immunization according to the Immunization schedule. Me and Jana, the other volunteer and  coincidentally my namesake, assist medical staff while providing vaccination. Ghanaian vaccination schedule is similar to European one, although it includes BCG vaccine against tuberculosis and yellow fever vaccine, which are not routinely given in European countries. Important part of childˈs health assessment represents the monthly weighing of children under the age of 5. The measurements are entered into Weight-Age diagram which helps to indicate the risk of becoming underweight or malnourished. We weigh children using an old type of scale (we have to „hang“ children on a string, that is attached to scales), which makes kids nervous and tearful. Unlike my previous experiences in dispensing medicines, the most prescribed drugs are not lipid-regulating or antihypertension drugs but antimalarials. We diagnose minimum three cases of malaria daily, fortunately there is an effective treatment available in a form of the combination of Artesunate 100mg and Amodiaquine 270 mg (2 tablets daily for three days) or the combination of Artemether 20 mg and Lumefantrine 120 mg (4 tablets initially, followed by 5 further doses of 4 tablets each given at 8, 24, 36, 48 and 60 hours). Medical practitioner operates with a limited list of medications which involves less than 50 items. For example the only available drug for high blood pressure is bendroflumethiazide and the selection of antibiotics is also quite narrow. Those patients who require more specialized treatment are send to the district hospital in Hohoe. In a case of emergency there are no ambulances available in the area, the only way of transport to the hospital is by taking taxi, tro tro or motorbike.

We participated in the programme called Ghana National Immunization Days (NIDs from 22nd to 24th of October). Our task was to visit every house in Agbesia and give polio vaccine to every child aged 0 to 59 months. Polio vaccine is taken orally (two drops). We also gave vitamin A oral liquid preparation to every child from 6 to 59 months. The other part of programme was to search for any cases of guinea worm infection, when we asked people if they had seen anyone with this particular condition (we showed them a picture of a quite nasty looking guinea worm infection). Fortunately it seems that there are no new cases of the infection in Agbesia. The number of vaccinated children was recorded to the tally sheet and we managed to give polio to more than 200 children. 

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