9 days. 3 type of drugs. 8 different nurses. 5 collapsed veins. 20+ pokes.
This past week has been a tough one for my Mum. Since our Emergency Room rush on Sunday night, it has been a roller coaster ride of high temperatures, low blood pressure, antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-fungals and a daringly low hemoglobin of 59.
When the hospital becomes your home, when you are surrounded by beeping machines and the unpleasant aromas of animated neighbours (I’d rather not delve into these details!), it is easy to get discouraged. But there is immense value in taking a step back.
If we take a few million steps back to East Africa and think about the health care system, it certainly puts life into perspective. A few weeks ago, I facilitated a workshop with nurses in a rural district in Kenya to understand the challenges they face. For many, it takes over an hour to reach the dispensary by foot and when they arrive, they are greeted by a long queue of community members who arose at the crack of dawn to seek medical attention. Their quality of care is often limited by frequent drug stock-outs and poor equipment. They cite staff shortage as one of their major issues – with one or two nurses at the most managing the clinical, administrative and financial components of the facilities by themselves. These nurses are constantly constrained by time, by money, by equipment, by cultural practices. The words not enough and lack of were spoken much too often. And in a rural community, not enough and lack of equate to the loss of livelihoods, the loss of economic prosperity and often, the loss of life.