Archive from November, 2012
Nov 28, 2012 - General, Medical Talk    4 Comments

The hospital tour in photos

I have been working at St Francis Hospital for over three months now.

When I first started here, everything was very different to what I was used to. I would walk through the wards glancing at the three children sharing a hospital bed in Paediatrics, or see the X-rays hanging up to dry on a washing line, and wonder what era I had stepped into. I was regularly shocked by the lack of seemingly essential resources. I could frequently be found asking in a shocked tone of voice “what do you mean we can’t measure sodium or potassium levels here?” or “what do you mean the hospital has run out of IV fluids?”

It is amazing how quickly I have adjusted to my new environment. I recently had my first visitors from home this month and as I took them on a tour of the hospital, I was reminded of what a fascinating place this is.

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Nov 19, 2012 - Medical Talk    1 Comment

Chronic diseases in Zambia

Everyday at work, I see patients with stereotypical infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, malaria and tuberculosis. However, practicing medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa today requires more than just managing tropical infections. On a daily basis, I also see many patients with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart failure and high blood pressure.

These chronic diseases are often referred to as ‘diseases of the rich’, but in recent years have become increasingly common and problematic in developing countries.

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Nov 11, 2012 - General, Travel    2 Comments

The first rains

The rains came, and oh boy, did they come! The Zambian wet season introduced itself to me by producing 12% of its average rainfall for the season in just one night!

The rains decided to arrive during a weekend away to South Luangwa. The drive there was in blistering sunshine, but on entering the park, we could see an ominous black cloud forming… by the time we arrived at our bush camp deep within the park, we could hear low rumbles of thunder, and the wind had picked up speed.

I was alternating between feeling excited about my first Zambian rainstorm and annoyed at the thought of a wet weekend away. However, Will and all the guides at the camp reassured me that the rains tend to come as short, sharp bursts, with the sun coming out immediately afterwards.

I asked whether the roads and the rivers would become impassable if it did rain. I was told that the ground was so dry that the rain would just soak in, and the rivers would take a long time to rise. Don’t always believe what you are told…

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