Monday, February 20, 2012

Africa: Second Week: Hospital Tour

The next couple of days after our tour of Mulaweya were fairly routine.  The crowds finally began to thin out, there was less of a crowd on the porch (the photo I had posted of people waiting was actually from Friday, this is how thin it became, it was much more crowded earlier in the week) and we started finishing closer to five then six and were able to take a longer lunch.

One of those long lunches we made good use of by going on a tour of the Zimba Mission Hospital.  Before IVV built the clinic about 10 years ago volunteers used to work here, one of our team members is a founding member of IVV and had volunteered at the hospital before the clinic was built.  There is a small property dispute between IVV and the Wesleyans over the land the clinic is built on.  The eye clinic is right next to the new outpatient clinic, the Mission Hospital claims it is built on their land.  IVV had believed when they built it that they would own the land.  Everyone agrees that the land the guest house is built on is owned by IVV, but that is little comfort if the Mission Hospital decides it needs more room.

The hospital consists of several one story buildings.  The newest building is an out patient clinic that was scheduled to be operational next Monday.  They had been using it as a waiting area since we arrived, starting Monday it was supposed to be an initial contact point for new patients as well as where many outpatient procedures will be done.  They offer a fairly wide variety of services in the outpatient clinic, including HIV testing, TB testing, medication dispensing, and physiotherapy. 

The various hospital buildings are linked together by concrete walkways.  There are several surgical suites, a cafeteria, some offices, a maternity ward, a general ward for men and another for women, and an isolation ward.  Most of the buildings are in decent condition, though not up to modern standards.  The isolation ward gets the biggest reaction from the doctors, while separated from the other wards the windows are open in the building and there is little to make it different from the other wards.  My understanding is that the ward is primarily used for illnesses such as cholera.

One of the general wards and the nurse that agreed to give us a tour.
One unusual feature of the hospital is that it includes housing for the staff.  Separate from the main hospital buildings are a number of small homes.  They appear to be of pretty good construction, they are modern looking and seem to be decent sized by Zambian standards.

Unfortunately we don't have more pictures of the hospital, my girlfriend had the camera and became distracted by the cats we saw on the hospital grounds.  We didn't see many cats in Zambia, there were far more dogs, all of which seemed to be of the same breed and were brown and medium sized.

The cats which distracted us on a hospital walkway.

By this point we had run out of beer so we went out on the town to get some more.  Our guide informed us there was a deposit, so we brought along some bottles.  At the bar most of these were rejected as dumpies, when we asked what the difference was the bartender helpfully explained that the ones he took were good and the ones we had left were dumpies and not worth anything.  This rather unhelpful explanation led to us comparing the bottles in detail since the labels were identical.  The glass was slightly different between the two bottles, explaining the mystery.

We also so traditional beer in the bar we went to.  When asked if this was safe to drink our guide answered, "sure, but probably not for you."  So we didn't get to try any.

Traditional beer.

A view of the street outside the bar.  I wish I had more pictures of Zimba itself but I had unfortunately assumed we had taken some so never went out specifically to get some.  In the picture is the bar tender, or perhaps owner, along with one of the IVV doctors.

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