Saturday, May 30, 2015

Medical Safari - Flying Doctor

Kouno, Southern Chad

I just returned from 4 days of flying in the bush transporting a Chadian doctor between remote villages.
Dr. Antcha Bissa (red shirt below) has been tasked with checking in on the over 50 small health clinics around the country which the national church has set up. Travelling between these clinics is not easy work so MAF teams up with the national church and donates 20 hours of flying per year to get a doctor to some of the more remote centers. Having a doctor visit every few months means people are lined up and consultations continue until well after the sun has set. Part of his job was also to check up on the administration of the clinics - which in most cases needed plenty of attention. If the doc was sleeping before 11:30 pm it was a good day!
Dr. Bissa going over the clinic's books in Mogo.

These clinics might have a local person trained as a nurse who can administer meds and some even have a lab tech who can check for the most common culprits like Malaria, but a visit from a fully trained doctor is unfortunately rare. Chad has a very low doctor to patient ratio - 1 doctor for every 25,000 people - which places it at or near the bottom of the list.
Topping up the oil with cattle looking on
Adding oil with an audience in Tchaguine
Each day Dr. Bissa and I tried to be up and airborne for the next village at around 7:00. He'd start seeing patients mid-morning after greeting the staff, shaking many hands and being offered breakfast (usually rice or pasta with chicken or goat sauce). As the visitors, we were, of course, offered the choice bits - chicken gizzard is actually way more scary as a concept.
Traveling light - we just bring the eye chart and find a place to hang it. (Kouno)
As the pilot, my work wasn't over just because we were safe on the ground. Dr. Bissa had me helping with eye chart tests on everyone before they went in to see him.

Emanuel is working on becoming a nurse. I was helping him run the eye tests in Kouno.

No comments:

Post a Comment