Nursing Team Week Three! By Christine Cassidy
Week three in Kenya has flown by! We started off the week by saying goodbye to Kim. It was sad to see her leave since she was such a great help in getting us adjusted and ironing out the kinks! This was her sixth time in Kenya so she was very knowledgeable and at ease, which really helped Melanie and I.
I spent Monday and Tuesday in the operating room at St. Teresa’s Hospital, while Melanie was on the maternity ward. The staff were so welcoming and I’ve learned a great deal in such a short period of time with them. Monday ended up being an extremely difficult first day. A patient was rushed to the OR for an emergency cesarean. Sadly, her twins were stillborn. This was my first experience with neonatal death and it was very heartbreaking. The staff handled this tragedy extremely well and I was grateful for their support.
On Wednesday we spent the day in the CCC (Continuous Care Centre) at St. Teresa’s for the HIV/AIDS clinic. Members of the community living with HIV/AIDS visited the clinic throughout the day for a follow-up with the clinical officer and to receive their medications for the next two months. The Kenyan government pays for all of the HIV/AIDS medications, which is extremely positive! However, the problem is that many people do not have the finances for transportation to the clinic to receive the medications. Melanie and I took the patient’s vitals, provided a brief information session on HIV/AIDS, treatment, and nutrition and handed out information brochures. Sister Jacinta immediately taped a brochure to the poster wall! It is nice to see the UPEI and Farmers Helping Farmers logo in the hospital.
Thursday we started out on the bumpy journey to Kamuketha Primary School to do education session on malaria and hand washing. We had mosquito nets to hand out to the nursery school children as well as the transfer students in years 1, 2 and 3. The children were so grateful and excited! All of the students were so happy to see us and interact with us. It was a very humbling experience to spend time with these beautiful children. Compared to life in Canada, we may think that they do not have a lot to be happy about; however, their smiles and energy tell a different story. I will never forget them.
We finished off the week in Machaka at the children’s orphanage. They were so happy to see us and the Sisters were so kind. We had tea and lunch there and played with the children in between. Since it is an Italian order of nuns, they have a lot of Italian visitors so the children would all wave and say “Ciao!” They were adorable! Machaka is a really great way to finish off the week.
Melanie and I are both looking forward to getting back to the hospital on Monday and seeing what our fourth week here in Kiirua holds!