Saturday, July 26, 2008

A New Head of Clinical Staff at Embangweni

5 July, Saturday

Albert Nyirongo, a seasoned clinical officer, arrived this afternoon. He is taking on the responsibilities of the medical officer in charge and is on permanent loan from Ekwendeni near Mzuzu. That has eased the clinical-officer crisis somewhat for Embangweni.

I caught up on notes and logging audio. Talked with some of the other guests at the guesthouse. Hannah and Marie are two medical students from England who are here for a few weeks as part of their tropical medicine course.

Today's the last day for the medical volunteers from Massachusetts. They went out on a mobile clinic and brought back a two-week old baby with a rash from head to toe.

Diagnosis: congenital herpes. Treatment: intravenous acyclovir, something Embangweni hospital doesn't have. Prognosis: not good. The child is likely to die, they said.

Thought Eileen and I might go to the market this afternoon but I felt a touch of unsettled stomach and didn't want to risk it. Took a nap instead.

Not sure if it was the heat or what but the feeling went away. Never got sick. Indeed, haven't been sick yet this whole trip—knock wood. Have eaten a heck of a lot of starch—bread, pasta, potatoes and even nsima—loads of chicken and some delicious cooked mustard greens and even pumpkin leaves, but no fresh greens. Also been scrupulous about hand-washing and using hand sanitizer—before brushing teeth, before eating meals, after going to bathroom, after touching shoes, after returning from hospital.

(NB: This post was written on site in rural northern Malawi and posted now that I again have internet access.)

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