Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Field

We woke up early and met with a member of the ministry of health before riding into the field to see our clinics.  We will be implementing in 10 clinics.  These clinics are primarily womens clinics which treat HIV.  We will be helping to reduce the mother to child transmission of HIV by introducing mobile phones.

At the clinics, women sat in circles, waiting for hours to be seen by a nurse.  Our interviewer was a genius with them.  He made them laugh and teased them.  It was the most relaxed and successful focus group discussion I have ever seen.  The mothers were very young.  Most in their teens with a few in their early twenties.  Their babies fed openly or crawled on the dirt floor.  They were colorful.

When I get older and have a baby, I want to swaddle it so hard that you only see it’s face and then I want to tie it on my back like a little baby hunchback.

There was one clinic that really clung.  We made friends with a baby girl who is HIV positive.  She was liberal with her love and plopped on any and everyone’s lap.  She took a sledgehammer to my heart.  The clinic was run by the fiercest nurse.  No games, she started to yell at us as soon as we came explaining that she did not have enough medicine to distribute.  When we explained that we were not doctors (Oi ma, I know, I know), she stopped yelling.  She told us that she didn’t want to tell mothers they were HIV positive if she didn’t have the medicine to treat them.

She didn’t want to tell mothers they were HIV positive if she didn’t have the medicine to treat them. 

The rest of the trip went by, but those words I brought back with me and hung up in my mind next to my concept notes and grant agreements.



1 comment:

  1. We're experiencing something similar now with Hepatitis C in Maryland. Some people want to mandate testing for those of the baby-boomer age, but there isn't actually programs set up (or money for programs/medication) to treat it. It's an important ethical discussion and dilemma.