Brisk me away

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ethiopia part 1...because all of my thoughts cannot be contained in 1 post...

well i have been home from ethiopia for 2 weeks now so i think its time to do a trip update.  i have put this off a little because i feel like i lack the words to put together a post that coveys my feelings about the trip.  the short of it is that it was such a good trip.  for 3 of our days there we helped them put on a clinic for the street kids they reach.  we saw roughly 140 kiddos each day.  this was nuts!  by the 3rd day though we were like a well oiled machine, moving the kiddos through the stations fast!  the doctor who worked with us is an ethiopian who's specialty is in public health.  part of his job through the hospital he is employed by is to work clinics like the one we put on.  it was fascinating to talk with him and learn about healthcare in ethiopia.  here are some of the things i learned. 

-there are approximately 38,000 people to 1 doctor in addis ababa
-for preventative treatment, nurses make home visits.  2 nurses are responsible for making visits to approximately 5000 homes.  they are also responsible for the follow up from these visits.
-nurses working in the hospitals make approximately $125 per month.
-the infant mortality rate in addis (which is one of the most civilized areas of ethiopia) is 700 babies for every 100,000 born
-the top killers among children in addis are tuberculosis, complications from HIV and nutritional deficits

some of the main problems among the kiddos we saw were intestinal parasites, fungal skin infections, and infection related to rotten teeth.  all of these problems are related to unsanitary living conditions and nutritional deficits.  it was so sad to me to see this, knowing that the fix we gave them would most likely be short term only since we weren't fixing the source of the problem.  this was really hard. these kiddos have never known what its like to go to the doctor when they are sick let alone go for well child check-ups.  the luxury of being able to afford to go to the doctor when i am sick is something that i know i take for granted.  throughout the week we passed out lots and lots of vitamins and worm medicine.  going into the trip, we didn't take many supplies with us, with the intention of buying what we would need from local pharmacies.  i loved that we did this.  it allowed us to pour into the local economy and bless some of the local business owners.  we made fast friends with the pharmacist across the street from onesimus and made several visits to her throughout the week as we ran out of supplies.  it was so fun to see her beaming as we walked through the door!  business was booming for her that week!  i also really liked that we did it this way because it ensured that we were using supplies that could actually be available to them later on since we know they carry them locally. 

i am really thankful to have had the opportunity to use the skills i learned in school to help others where medical care isn't readily available.  i can't tell  you how fulfilling it was passing out vitamins, rubbing ointment on sweet little faces and giving drinks of water to these kiddos.  if ever you get the opportunity to go on a trip like this, GO.  it changes your outlook on life and shifts your perspective. 

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