Friday, 2 September 2011

Helping to identify sick newborns

This is the front and then the reverse of our new tick card based on IMCI principles for idenfying newborns with risk factors and those with danger signs so that our staff at the hospital can make the decisions that we hope can save some lives in our hospital and then hopefully in the rest of the district.

So, I know I've been pathetic at keeping up this blog. Maybe I should say I've been working too hard but really I just don't get very much internet time. Thankfully Pam has been a bit more diligent! I've put this form up to attract comment or criticism from anyone who wants and for the CHILD2015 forum users to get access to it without attachments. 

I'll try to do a more literary and universally interesting post if I can...promise.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Back on the blog that bit us

Well..we have not had much chance to update this vital historical archive of our attempt to find the source of the Nile..I beg your pardon.. to work for a year in Beautiful Tanzania.
For one, we were dashing round and barely touching the ground as we left UK and arrived first in Dar and then on down to our digs at Nyangao.
And then we have had a bit of a slog getting onto the internet - all better now we think!

We've been at the hospital for 4 weeks or so but have now come up to a lovely spot called Morogoro for 2 weeks of intensive Kiswahili training.

We are living in a house, in a domestic school quadrangle, in a convent, just off the hospital site. We are luck enough to have a 2 bedroom house and a living room and also an eating room/study with a great desk for sitting at and thinking.

We have been divesting ourselves of much of the clutter that characterises life in UK. Our days stretch out luxuriously after we come home from work at 3.30 with a good 6 hours before slumber to do all the things that get squeezed out at home. Jim is reading books again. No daily papers to get in the way, although I have tried to subscrive to Guardian weekly. It seems there is so much more space and time to just feel the simple pleasure of existence..loving it!

We are enjoying the work at the hospital. Pam has a good pharmacy department to help in. She is working with Andrea, our pharmacy technician who has recently qualified and will be running the department after we leave. Since arriving Pam has seen hundreds of patients in the HIV clinic and tried her best to counsel them in Swahili!

Jim is working mainly on the kids ward and also trying to make some inroads in the clinic. Swahili is our big priority and to this end we are now in Morogoro. Staying at another convent and meeting with the other new arrivals in-country. Enjoying eating meat twice a day   - unheard of in Nyangao!

We have also had a really nice relaxing weekend in Mtwara, which is just a couple of hours away on the coast with really good snorkelling and a nice beach house that belongs to the Brothers and nuns.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

To kindle or not to kindle?'s to kindle. Having been utterly disgusted at the thought of using ibooks or ebooks - I am now totally hooked (Thanks Rebecca). Infact the downloading of books has slightly spiralled out of control. I am addicted to downloading. The book list so far:

Nothing to Envy
Thousand Splendid Suns
Brave New World
The White Tiger
A Fine Balance
Three Cups of Tea
Half of a yellow Sun
The Help
The Shadow of the Wind
A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich

This will keep me going for a while I think. Please post any more books you think I may like. Think of what I could pack instead of all these books (GHD's? No. I'm afraid they are still on the reserve list and will probably get nowhere near the shortlist).

Friday, 22 October 2010

My first ever blog

Well then, the technophobe comes to the internet 2.0 feast!
They say you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink, well Pam has managed the equivalent of trussing this horse into a ducking stool and between desparate gulps of sweet air as I surface I'll update the reader as to my movements.

I have shied away from this sort of thing before now because I tend to feel it turns us all into self-styled Pepys' or Bunyan's, writing for our immortal contribution to posterity; but I think we all know that after the asteroid all electronica will simply become detritus to the new society, useful only to the extent that it can help build a shelter, with all its miraculous complexity lost to survivors.

I have an excuse for keeping this journal though, as it is by the good will and funding of the Yorkshire Deanery that I am able to be away from normal work at the moment, leaving my colleagues short on the rota, to be in Liverpool studying tropical medicine at the School of Tropical Medicine. You may have seen it on the telly recently in Help I caught it abroad 2. I seemed to have been the only one who hadn't seen that programme before the course started. All the nurses at work told me about the eye worm, which I now to be Loa Loa. This blog can be part of my record of te time on the course.

The course is brilliant and I have been having such a good time. It is a great way to prepare for spending a year in the tropics. I have been looking down the microscope at different worms and other creepy crawlies and I can (hopefully) tell the different types of mosquito from each other.

One of the best things about the course is to meet lots of other doctors who are taking a leap into the unknown, and best of all for me is that two of them are my brother Mark and his girlfriend Steph. We had a trip away to Snowdonia the other week and climbed the mountain. I'll try to dig out a photo of us at the top and put it on the blog.

Thats all for now....

Thursday, 21 October 2010

And your laminated card is...(turn it over)....IMF/World Bank

Following our intense VSO e-learning course, Jim and I have just been on our first VSO residential weekend at Harbourne House in Birmingham. The only way I can describe this was like being on The Apprentice for 3 long consecutive days (and nobody was fired although it is possible even at this stage in the game)....HARD WORK! It was lovely to meet other fellow volunteers to get us even more excited and galvanised about what we are about to do. All excercises were designed to explore culture and global development but I nearly died when we were all handed laminated cards - to give a short brief to the rest of the team. I know you won't believe me but I did manage to say a few words about the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, their influences and their effect on global development. Yep I surprised even myself.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Prep before we go...

As you can imagine - leaving the country isn't an easy task. Not only are there direct debits to cancel, addresses to divert, accounts to stop, belongings to move out of the house, finding a home for wee Pablo....there is also the mental preparation involved before embarking on something like this. We are in the middle of a VSO 'Preparing to Volunteer' e-learning course at the moment, learning about adapting to different cultures and global development. In a few weeks time we'll be meeting some of the other volunteers on a residential weekend in Birmingham. It's all very well thought out and organised! I just hope by the end of it, I am prepared. Oh and I've just ordered a Teach Yourself Swahili CD from Amazon as well today!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Where are we going exactly?

Good question! We will be in a village called Nyangao which is in the Lindi region. Dar Es Salaam is apparently 8-12 hours away by road and Mtwara town is about 2-4 hours from Nyangao. My arrow is probably totally in the wrong place but I'll move it when I know exactly where we are! Nyangao is such a small place that even google map can't locate it.

...anywhere within a hundred mile radius of the arrow head!