Day 10: “I can see a mzungu”

We’ve had 2 intense days of cervical cancer screening, cataract surgeries and classroom training at the clinic.  The Fluorspar staff and the Naweza team are definitely feeling the effects of the stress of trying to fit as much into our short time together.  But still, we have an agenda and we persevered.

 The female cataract patients sit together.

The female cataract patients sit together.

We began with removing the eye patches from the cataract patients who had their surgery yesterday.  The process is to remove the patch, then clean the eye area with warm water and then place steroid/antibiotic drops into the eye.  They then ask if they can see.  I was standing in front of one patient when they asked him, “What can you see?” and he responded, “I can see a mzungu.”  He was referring to me as mzungu actually means white person in swahili.  It was quite funny and everyone laughed.  And of course we were all most happy that he could see!

 The cataract patient who said he could see a mzungu when his patch was removed.

The cataract patient who said he could see a mzungu when his patch was removed.

It was an incredible experience to see the expressions on their faces when the patches were removed and they could see.  We pray that the patients follow the post op care that has been explained to them and are cautiously optimistic that the surgeries will be judged a success at the critical 6 week mark. The patients are transported back to their communities in the backs of trucks and told to come back in 2 weeks for a post-op followup to ensure proper healing.

 Cataract patients who are being transported home after the surgery and overnight stay to ensure proper post op care.

Cataract patients who are being transported home after the surgery and overnight stay to ensure proper post op care.

 The cataract team together with some of the cataract patients. 

The cataract team together with some of the cataract patients. 

Dr. Sue provided didactic training on obstetric emergencies and common gynecological disorders.  She provided several techniques on how to maneuver a baby who is difficult to deliver and the staff was highly engaged.   With 12 deliveries last month alone one can understand their interest.  As well, recently, the clinic suffered the death of a baby at birth due to the cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck.  It was devastating for the family as well as the clinic and surrounding community.  Our goal is to provide training and education in order to minimize these occurrences. 

We then had to say goodbye to Dr. James who will be going on to a John’s Hopkins Medicine International Partners Forum 2015 in Brazil where he will present an abstract on our innovative 2 way mHealth sms application to screen community members for chronic disease.   We will very much miss him and his sense of humour which has kept us laughing since our arrival in Nairobi!

 Our last moments with Dr. James .

Our last moments with Dr. James .

 The end of a long day ...

The end of a long day ...

That’s all for now.  Tomorrow, outreach!

Thanks for reading.

- Stac