Variegated help

by Anna Traunspurger,  2015/07/07

For two months, the student of medicine and children’s nurse, Anna Traunspurger from Munich has left back her everyday life and has supported the humedica partner hospital Guinebor II in Chad. A period of time characterized by tropical heat and help of various kinds for people in distress:

“At the beginning of March, I landed in N’Djamena, the capital of the central African landlocked country Chad, somewhat nervous to know what was waiting for me in one of the world’s poorest countries. The German doctor Michaela and her husband fetched me at the airport. Since 2010, they have been managing the nearby hospital Guinebor II and have, thus, made medical care possible for the poor people.

In order not to lose any time, we immediately went to the clinic the next morning. It consists of four different wards with eight beds each – one for children, one for men, as well as one for women and finally, one ward for gynecology or obstetrics. Every new patient must first go to the so-called Triage, where blood pressure, pulse and temperature are measured and where then is decided, if he must immediately be taken to the emergencies of if he can queue for the consultations. These are being carried out by an experienced nurse and two carers who only refer the patients to doctors in special or difficult cases.

I got to know the five doctors working at the hospital at the moment: the head of the clinic, Mark is responsible for internal and tropical medicine, Andrea is gynecologist and responsible for the obstetric ward, Isaac who comes from Cameroun, is a general practitioner and there is also Michaela and Antoinette, a local doctor who studied in Russia and who is now making her first professional experiences in the clinic.

In the wards, there are three Chadian nurses and carers, who are being supported by two English nurses, Rebecca and Sue. The midwives are in charge of the obstetric ward. Everywhere, I have been cordially welcomed and introduced in all areas.

I am being explained that, besides the general and specific consultations, there is a vaccination consultation three times a week, where mothers can have vaccinated their children up to five years of age. A well thought out offer, considering that besides the classic vaccinations against measles and polio they also get information about malaria there. Because in Chad there is a continuous danger of infections with the germ of the especially dangerous Malaria Tropica, which claims thousands of preventable victims every year. As malnutrition and epidemics repeatedly claim many lives, there is the possibility of getting advice on nutrition and hygiene on the other two days.

During the first three weeks of my stay there, I worked in the emergency room. I registered patients and carries out the anamneses. As the people don’t often speak French, a carer translated into Arabic. But sometimes, this wasn’t enough either and we needed other helpers to translate the patient’s mother tongue. No easy task, as there are 120 spoken languages in Chad.

After the emergency room, I changed for the children’s ward and obstetrics, where I could learn incredibly much from my colleague Andrea and where I experienced many difficult childbirths. Also the collaboration with the local staff worked well and I enjoyed it. It is great to see how well the local nurses are trained and how precious their work is.

As my stay took place exactly in the mid of the heat period in Chad, every day there were temperatures of around 40 degrees and also during the nights there was no refreshing. In the hospital, there is only air condition in the operating room, but luckily I didn’t have any problems with the high temperatures. Moreover, there are nearly no mosquitos with the heat – an incredible advantage!”

As one of the world’s poorest countries, the people in Chad have suffered from structural poverty and a precarious humanitarian situation for decades. With the deployment of voluntary doctors, humedica supports the medical supply of the inhabitants and facilitates the access to urgently needed help for them. Please become part of this work and support our commitment in Chad with a donation. Thank you very much!

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