The realization that there is no "911", no ambulances, paramedics, EMT's or Firefighters that can be summoned to an emergency is very unnerving. Medical care (other than village medicine-women) is sought only by the very wealthy, mostly those who can afford to fly to Germany for treatment. CPR is a household word in America, but I was reminded in the class, that very few people here had ever heard it. If used on any non-American, or in a public place like a market, the result would be devastating!! My good intentions would be misinterpreted as the cause for the victim's demise..... causing a mob attack... responsible for my demise!! Understood!!! It was clear that our medical skills were for use in our own community ONLY so as not to be misunderstood..... So much for the "Good Samaritan Act"!!
|Stop this horrible woman from attacking this poor man!!!|
This is the answer to why we never see elderly people here! There aren't any old people. I figure most of us have, or will be rushed to the hospital at one time in our lives...If treatment wasn't available, what would be our outcome?!
Anyway, my point here is we are lucky to have access to such amazing care and facilities in the US. Even here the US citizens, with our simple clinic, have access to much more than others could even dream of. Luckily, if one of us finds our self in an emergency situation (and can get to the embassy), we will be flown out to London, Germany, or South Africa for adequate care.
Clearly, the medical situation here weighs heavily on us. I am more concerned with kids falling, car-accidents, etc. than ever before because of this. A head injury is likely more than the best-equipped hospital here could handle effectively. For this reason, it is Seat belts, helmets, and anti-malaria meds for the Woodruff kids....almost to the point of obsession!
|Luckily, we haven't had to go quite this far to make sure the kids are safe here!!|
So Nigeria has the 2nd highest preventable pregnancy deaths in the world (second only to India). Wow! That's reassuring! Last year it was estimated by the WHO (world health organization) that there were over 60,000 of these deaths. Here were some of the sited barriers to receiving care.
- Pregnant women seeking obstetric care in public hospitals must bring their husbands to donate blood. If the husband refuses or if the woman doesn't have a husband, she is refused care.
- Women in labor are forced to travel to hospitals on motorbikes.
- Public health facilities demand in exchange for care that pregnant women purchase basic necessities like antiseptics, syringes and gauze—and that these items be a specific brand name.
- Doctors keep flashlights handy in the delivery room for use during regular power outages because health centers are not equipped with alternative sources of power.
|Home Birth?? No thanks, I prefer my epidural..and ice chips!|
Luckily, I don't have to face the problems of other pregnant women here. Selfishly, my biggest stresses are that I can't get a Cherry Lime-aid from Sonic (with the pellet ice) or a Grilled stuffed burrito from Taco Bell.... the two intense cravings I faced during the last three pregnancies! mmmmm, I will have to get creative because I'm definitely not craving Suya (aka 'Street-Meat')!
For fetal-dating purposes, I was compelled to go to a local clinic for an ultrasound (The most exclusive, high-tech facility in town).....I don't want to get into the gory details, but I have been in Truck-stop bathrooms that have felt more sanitary. At least in a gas-station bathroom, you can hover over the toilet seat avoiding most germs. (Tyson claims it wasn't too bad) This was not the case at the clinic.....I had a malnourished pregnant woman just inches to my right spewing TB bacterium into her handkerchief during the 45 minutes we spent in the waiting room. After enduring the crowded room with 15 strangers, the hospital administrator finally came out to tell me that there had been an emergency and I would need to reschedule! I was happy for the excuse to leave, but she continued to tell me the horrific details of the emergency describing the massive hemmoraighing and "blood all over the room"! Wow, What a way to instill confidence in potential patients, let them visualize HIV and Hepatitis flying all over the room they were to be examined in!
Unfortunately, I had to return the next day, but I lucked out... I was relieved there was no Tuberculosis Lady, and no infectious bodily fluids spurting onto the examination table during this visit!! In fact, I was supprized with how impressed I was with the doctor. He was knowledgable, capable, and had uncharacteristically good bed side manner! AMAZING!! He was also board certified in the US and Europe! For a moment, I forgot where I was and figured I was in a clinic in Washington DC. I have a million and one complaints about the sketchy-clinic, but completely satisfied with the doctor....maybe one of the best I'd ever seen!
|The most prestigious hospital in the area! Takes only cash, up-front .......they did have a flat-screen TV on the wall!|
|Woodruff baby #4. Alexis has a notebook of names she has picked for the baby...not one of them is for a boy!!|