Apologies in advance for a not-so-exciting post this time..haha we're getting stuff done, eventually :P
Wed 30th Nov
Still working on the surveys for the Western Province; one assesses patients’ and nurses’ comprehension and acceptance of the poster I mentioned earlier that Michelle and I are making on how to give ORS and zinc tablets, as well as their comprehension of new diarrhoea treatment cards we’ll be distributing which includes information on both ORS and zinc. The other survey tries to establish what resources are available in the clinics we visit, and the nurse’s knowledge of what information they contain. The surverys hopefully just need a couple of changes before printing by the end of the week.
Today started with a Continuing Education session at 8AM about the current possible diarrhoea ‘outbreak’, lead by a lady from Infection Control, a nurse I think. She ran the session in Pijin but I tried to follow what she was saying through her powerpoint and the random English words along the way. From what I gathered, she was praising the work of those who conduct ‘Syndromic Surveillance’ (which I think is a fancy label for the collection of data about the incidence of disease etc) and so have helped identify the spike in diarrhoea cases recently. Noone’s been able to confirm whether it’s actually an outbreak, essentially the lab is holding things back because only when they confirm what the diarrhoea going around is being caused by can real and direct action can be taken, if necessary. A couple of people from the pharmacy staff here raised similar points to the meeting on Monday, questioning whether the number of reported cases really indicate an outbreak and the lack of definite answers from lab even after alarm bells went off a couple of weeks ago. Criticism is actually rare here in the Solomons. This first came up on Monday at the first meeting when I couldn’t understand why the lab representative wasn’t being told in a stronger way to get a move on with things, to test stool samples more promptly and establish the cause of the diarrhoea going around. The rep was indirectly criticised only when another doctor arrived late to the meeting. The doctor leading the meeting, while bringing him up to speed on what had been discussed mentioned that the lab ‘need to get a move on’. Apparently even this indirect criticism would’ve been considered rude though Michael explained that the lab rep and the doctor leading the meeting have probably known each other for a long time and that’s the only reason he would’ve done it.
Anyway there’s another meeting at 1.30PM today where all who attended on Monday are to report back on their progress. Will be interesting...now time for lunch!
Thurs 1st December
So that follow-up meeting went for another 2 hours, like the first one on Monday...! It’s still hard to say if this is truly an outbreak but I’m sure you’re sick of hearing how things are going around in circles. The lab had tested 3 samples between the Monday meeting and yesterday, from two children and one adult. The samples from the two children contained E.coli but this is apparently quite common for the region, only significant growth is concerning. When this point was raised, the lab rep added shakily that yes, it was significant growth...hmm. I think the doctor leading the meeting caught me nodding off at one point, oops. Luckily Michelle and I had an excuse to bail out of the meeting at the 2 hour mark, the pharmacy department was having a going away afternoon tea for Viera, the lovely Pharmacy Officer I’ve mentioned earlier. She and her husband are moving to Gizo, in the Western Province. This is a huge loss for NRH but Viera’s going to do similar work to what she’s doing currently in a new hospital in Gizo which is exciting and they’ll be lucky to have her. So afternoon tea involved a big spread of food that had been ordered in - everyone had pitched in money during the week - and brief speeches from those who felt inclined. I’ve only known Viera a week and a half but I missed her at work today!
Doreen and I had a folding marathon this morning! We’ve now got 600 copies of the Pharmacy Division newsletter done! This is the newsletter that we were working on last week. Luckily the girls in the Medicine Information Centre where we working like my music so the folding sesh was a breeze! These will be distributed by the Medicine Store staff when they deliver meds to clinics across the country, I’m chuffed that I was a part of that! Finally got the surveys and posters properly finished today. The editing process was longer and more tedious than I expected, with the documents going between Michael, Michelle and myself, but they’ve turned out really well. The trip to the Western Province is arranged for Monday to Thursday of next week. So not much else to report right now, I’m definitely ready for the weekend, much like everyone at home I’m sure :)
Much love, missing you all