Last Sunday we had yet another Earthquake, another big one. (About 7 or so on the Richter scale) This time there was the added problem that we were living right by the sea. Shitters! We made for the hills (but then we decided to sit and watch the sea for any signs of impending death instead), apparently on the other side of the
Anyway, the Doctor was away last week and so I was left on my own. I was effectively the most medically qualified person (apart from the nurses who are all very good) within about 200 miles. Shitters again! I had a relaxed week with different activities each morning. Child Health clinic, family planning clinic (one woman didn't quite understand that concept in that she turned up 3 months pregnant), ante-natal clinic (which I ended up running!) and the outpatients department. The OPD is basically the equivalent of A and E in
Finally, I promised a bit more about our trip around the island (you know, the one with the AWFUL boat journey). So, the idea was to visit some of the nurse-led clinics. These are just small, very basically equipped huts in the middle of nowhere. They do have radios however most of them seem to not be working. The faulty radios meant that we were not expected and so most of the places we visited didn't have any patients for us to see which meant the whole trip was a slight disaster in terms of medicalness. It was still very interesting though and we were able to drop off some supplies to the outposts.. It is virtually impossible for these nurse-led clinics to do very much at all other than basic first aid, family planning and vaccinations. Sadly, the day before we went on tour a young woman died of an acute severe asthma attack. Obviously nothing could have been done but it really makes you think about how these people live so remotely. The day after the woman's death, it was a strange and moving experience to see a group of wailing women in mourning and a room of about 100 people surrounding the body, as they had done all night in the local tradition. Death seems somewhat more prominent here. This was also the village where we had to inspect some remains that had washed up to see if they were human or fish.
This week, the doctor has returned so things are back to normal and it's been a morning in surgery. He's going away again next week on another tour, I think I'll be staying here and well away from that sodding boat. Anyway, now I'm more confident about what I'm doing and the problems here, it'll be good to get stuck in.