Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clinic & Community - 7 years and counting...

It's the 19th of April 2012. Seven years ago I was rejoicing because the Aberdeen community finally agreed to an outpatient clinic for children. You see, I came to Sierra Leone to set up a clinic at the fistula centre. The purpose of the clinic was to serve the Aberdeen community seeing as they would have little direct benefit from the fistula centre. The community was hoping for a general hospital but that was not something we could provide. Within a few weeks of arriving I realized the dire state of child health in the country and decided that a paediatric clinic was a good way to get started. Start small, I thought. The community wasn't so sure. A number of adults were unhappy that they would not have a place to go for their medical treatment. However, after various meetings they understood the benefits of a paediatric clinic and agreed that their was very little available to their children in the way of healthcare. So, the outpatient clinic for children began and little did I know how busy it would be.

To this day the clinic still runs as an outpatient paediatric clinic seeing an average of a thousand children a month. The staff are dedicated and hard working. They have recently started an outpatient supplementary feeding program, something which we had talked about for a while, but never really happened. It is great to see how the clinic has grown over the years, and amazing to be a part of that.

He's a blurb from my blog 7 years ago...

Good news...
Last week we met with the representatives from the community we’re working in as well as with other stakeholders, and it seems as though things are moving forward.

We all managed to come to an agreement and the community has accepted the scope of our services. I was able to explain what we could provide in the out patient clinic (starting small- a clinic for children 12 years and under, also providing vaccinations and growth monitoring, and a focus on prevention- including health education, possibly provision of bed nets etc.). Those present seemed pleased. They also seem to understand that we are limited in what we can offer…as far as beds/ambulance etc. are concerned, due to limited funds, staff, expertise and equipment. At a dinner party the next night we were able to talk with each other some more and I think that a foundation has been laid and we can starting building a relationship with those involved.

It looks like we will start surgery and begin seeing patients in the clinic around April 26th..

The last few weeks haven’t been easy, but in the end ‘all things work together for good’. And we are seeing good things come out of this situation. Thanks for your support and encouragement during this time!


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