MCN Heathcare staff give back in a variety of ways during the year. One of our clinical staff recently travelled to Madagascar through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. This group sends short term medical teams into a variety of countries to provide much needed care to rural, under-served areas. Each team is made up of 14 members from all over the US; pastors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical and lay persons. We will be sharing her experiences with you over the next few weeks.
Life as a Mission Team Member
Let me tell you about our days (and they are long ones). We are staying at the Lutheran Hospital in Antsirabe, Madagascar, Africa. There is a guest house with bunks, a gathering area, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Four of us are staying at our host’s house.
We meet at the Guest House at 0630 for breakfast and devotions. Breakfast is very good with pastries, bread, cereals, eggs, great coffee, juices, etc. remember that the French were here when you think about the bread and pastries. AND, the butter is so yummy!
0730, we are on the road (Malagasy time) with our translators. The drives are slow and bumpy so far. Not all the roads are paved and if they are, there are many potholes. There are many rice paddies in the area. The tiered ground is beautiful. None of the pictures can truly illustrate the beauty of this area.
Around 0900, we arrive at the designated site and set up the clinic inside the church. We gather outside with the local Pastor and the people that have arrived. A message in Malagasy and the people sing. Beautiful, heartfelt singing. It fills all the spaces around us and between us. It gives me goosebumps just writing this now.
We then begin. Intake, triage, doctor or Nurse Practitioner, Point of Care station if ordered, and then Pharmacy. Today we saw 425 patients with 930 prescriptions filled. There is a lot of chronic disease such as allergies, asthma, HTN, dehydration, etc. In addition, we have seen some things that require surgical intervention (which most of these people cannot afford) and some acute issues. We gave nebulizer treatments on 5 patients today. Please remember that there is not a way to provide regular nebs let alone rescue inhalers. We, (the nurses) wonder what will happen to the asthmatics with future attacks.
Lunch comes around noon. We have the yummy bread and all kinds of things to make sandwiches. All our food is prepped for us so we stay healthy.
At approximately 1245, we resume clinic operations. My translators are helping me pronounce all the names of the people we see. The Malagasy are very patient with me while I work on the correct pronunciation. Once I get it down, you should see the smiles, albeit sometimes they are giggling at me.
Today we finished at 1500, packed up and took the hour long, bumpy ride back to the hospital. This afternoon, we did some shopping. Back to the Guest House for dinner and devotions. The food is wonderful. There are five men working in the kitchen. I need to learn more about them.
After dinner, we do highlights of the day and then onto packing drugs for the next day’s clinic. I think we got back to our room at 9:30pm.
Well, above is essentially the operational components of the trip which really does not give you a clear picture of what we are experiencing here in Madagascar. I will try to convey some of that in the next blog.