A hot afternoon at FAME proved to be the perfect moment to take a break and catch some fresh air. Still in our scrubs, we jumped into a car and visited one of the neighbouring hospitals. Rhotia Health Centre is located in the catholic diocese of Mbulu, at the other side of Karatu, a bit out of town. We were invited by Viola, a German physician in training and were welcomed by a local physician who took us on a tour through the hospital.
The hospital site was very spacious and looked clean and organised. When we visited, it was pretty calm, and there were no particularly interesting cases or emergencies at hand. Seeing a child with severe burn wounds did get to me however. Unfortunately, in a culture where open fires are still common practice, burning incidents are something hospitals have to deal with on a regular basis. Of course I had a special interest in seeing the labour ward and the radiology department, but there were no procedures going on there either, which allowed us to look around freely. Viola told us about the EKG (Electrocardiography) training she was giving to the local staff. You can find more on her experiences with that here (in German).
Contrary to the FAME hospital, where patients receive hospital meals, this hospital doesn’t provide meals for its patients. People either have to bring a meal for their hospitalised relative, or they can make it at the in-hospital cooking spot. Another big difference is that FAME has an on-site source of potable water, which is of course an extra asset. Furthermore, the Rhiota Health Centre will refer patients who need a CT-scan or mothers with a premature baby to the FAME hospital.
What I really missed in both hospitals, was an isolation room for high risk patients and crystal clear procedures and protocols for addressing suspected contagious cases. In a country with a high prevalence of TB, and with cases of cholera, rift valley fever and other high risk infectious diseases, this is an absolute basic facility that should be present and functioning flawlessly.
You might think that at FAME, even all our breaks were medically oriented. Rest assured, they weren’t, as I will disclose in a next blog. Stay tuned!
* * *