Wednesday- July 7th, 2010
Today I finally got to go to the RCH (Reproductive Child Health) Clinic! I believe I have mentioned the RCH before- we were supposed to go there the past few weeks, but we had to be approved to go there from their administration and something got mixed up, so we finally were able to go this week. I have been waiting quite a while for this experience.
We arrived at the RCH main office in Hohoe around 8:30 AM. There, we met two nurses- Reva and Joe. We picked up the supplies and headed to a village which was about 15 minutes drive outside of Hohoe. Once we arrived at the village, we unpacked the supplies and put them aside for a little bit. The head nurse Reva said that we have to wait for about an hour until 10:00 AM because the mothers are in the farms getting their crops ready for the market on Friday. We waited with the local villagers for about an hour- they gave us some fresh bananas right off of the tree and talked with us about our schools in the states and what we want to do with our future.
After a nice discussion with the local villagers, we setup the clinic- which was basically a hut with a table. I helped Reva and Joe organize the charts and patient records, as well as prep the syringes and vials for vaccinations and setup the scale. While setting up, I had the chance to talk with Reva and ask some questions. I asked Reva about the general structure and organization of RCH. She said that they are a government organization that provides free health care to children under 2 years old. The only thing that is not free is vaccinations- they are 20 pesways (about 15 cents in the states), which is still expensive for a lot of people here. I also asked Reva about their schedule and what they do on a weekly basis. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they do outreach- a different village each month. They cover about 12 villages in one month so that they can see each child once a month in different villages and keep track of their health. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they are at their main office in Hohoe where they have mothers bring their children in there to have checkups.
At about 10:30 AM we saw the first patient. The mother took the 5 month old baby off of her back and undressed him. We put the baby into some sort of contraption that weighs the baby. Basically, it is a gravity scale that is suspended off of a rope and scale off of the ceiling. The baby was put into an overall type of cloth and the baby hangs on the scale, almost like a swing and we take the weight. It sure was a different way of weighing, but it does work well. I felt bad for the babies because it seems so uncomfortable hanging there for a few seconds- most of them cried. After weighing each baby, I assisted the nurse with recording and graphing the baby's weight. Most of the babies had about a 7% weight increase each month. However, there was one baby that had under a 1% weight increase- it was about 0.4% weight increase in one month. Reva was fairly concerned with this so we made sure the mother knew about it and educated her on proper nutrition. It is important to see weight growth in babies- especially in the first 12 months.
It was somewhat strange how their system works. Once the first baby came, there was a whole line of mothers waiting to have their babies checked on. What the nurses do is take the weight of all of the babies first and check their nutrition. Then, once all the babies have been weighed, they administer vaccinations. So, once the first baby is weighed, they have to wait until all the other babies are weighed until they can get vaccinated. I found this a bit strange, but that is how their system works.
Unfortunately, our placement time was up at 12 PM and we had to be picked up once the weighing was finished, so I was not able to see anything more than the weighing of babies. However, we will be going to another village with the RCH on Friday- my last day and hopefully I will be able to see more there. Tomorrow I will be going to the bone setter. I absolutely loved going there last week, so I am really looking forward to seeing some more nasty, yet awesome procedures.