In November 2016 Sallie, one of the trustees, visited the clinic. Two volunteers accompanied her, Fiona, a GP, who has specialised in sexual health and Jo, a nurse, who had just completed the Diploma in Tropical Nursing. Neither had worked in the developing world so it was an exciting experience for them and one that they both say will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
It is very important for the trustees to visit the clinic regularly. Although they are not involved in day to day management or even clinical issues it ensures that they can oversee the development of services and check that your donations are being spent appropriately. We take this very seriously and it also means that we get to renew our friendship with the staff and patients, some of whom we have known for 10 years or more.
Sallie said that when she returns from these visits she is full of enthusiasm and renewed energy. As a trustee it is easy to only see the problems but when you actually see a happy smiling face of a child who has been treated for Malaria it makes it all worthwhile.
Attached to the clinic are nine Community Health Workers. They are volunteers although we support them with a small stipend and bicycles. Their role is to take health education out to their communities and report back to the clinic when they see any problems. One day they took the UK volunteers out with them and they came across a family that was destitute. Their mud hut was falling down and the grass roof was very patchy. The mother had six children and no husband. There were signs of neglect and severe malnutrition and even the CHW’s were shocked at their plight. They were able to organise for this family to be placed on our social register and to receive totally free medical care. They were also brought to the notice of the Assistant Chief of the village who was able to support them with some help patching the roof. We can often forget that we’re so fortunate that we live in a country where there is a safety net, even if it isn’t perfect all the time.
On a happier note it was wonderful to be part of a birth during the visit. A young mother gave birth safely in the maternity unit to her first child, a healthy baby boy called Wycliff. It’s great to see that more women are coming to the clinic for ante natal visits and the midwives are regularly seeing 30- 40 patients per month which means that any problems can be found before the mother goes into labour. We know that this saves lives and all the women and expectant mothers are very keen for the 24 hour maternity care to start.