Friday, March 17, 2017

Cervical cancer screening and Building Schools in our Area

This week Megan combined her work with our work with women on ART treatment.  We will be testing them with VIAC (visual inspection Analysis of Cervix) to assess cervical changes that could easily be cancer and also she will be doing cytology on those patients as well as testing menstrual pads for viral loads.

On Mondays we draw viral loads on HIV patients so we had a support meeting and Megan and her research assistants then explained their program to the women.  They were very excited to have this service offered to them.  We hope we can stop cervical cancer before it gets too far along in these high risk patients.

On Wednesday Nikki, Justin and son Noah Hess joined us for 3 days.  They represent ZRSP (Zimbabwe Rural Schools Program) that have been working with Major for several years to build and develop schools in our area.  They have built school blocks at Kemapondo and Batanai and have build new schools at Mukowe and Davare.  They have provided everything from boreholes for water at the school to school desks, teachers housing and pens and exercise books for the children.  They have been so helpful.  We have used these new schools as church buildings in our area and have built up big churches in these places.

They came to visit their projects and look at a new site and decide priorities for the next year.  We had a great time with them.  They live in South Africa now  but are Zimbabweans who grew up in Harare.  They actually live right down the street from Michael, Major's son who is in University in South Africa.  He enjoys meals at their house a lot--when they can afford to feed the hungry college student!  

We are thankful for their friendship and great help through their organization to our schools in our area.

Megan went home to Harare on Thursday so have a couple of days by myself to catch up on some paperwork and housework.  I am feeling much better and have more energy finally.

We haven't had rain for a about 8 days so we are wondering if this is the end of the rainy season a bit early.  Already we are seeing an increase in malaria cases which come when the rains stop.  We pray it will not be a bad year for malaria.  We still have a few cases of typhoid a week--up to 195 cases we have treated since December.

We want to invite anyone that reads this to plan on coming for our 50th anniversary celebration in January 2018.  Please save the date and join us.  Contact me if you have not received an invitation.

 Megan and AIDS Counsellors talking to women about Cervical Cancer

 Christine explaining to women about cervical cancer


Nikki, Justin discussing with Major

Invitation for our 50th Anniversary

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Busy week and weekend

This morning I awoke to a call to come to the hospital for 2 C/Sections.  One of our doctors who does anesthesia is away for 5 days at a workshop and our nurse anesthetist is on leave for the month--so I am call to do anesthesia.

We started work at 0700 and worked until just past 10 a.m.  Delivered 2 baby boys and moms and babies are doing fine.  Then I came home to shower, eat and go back up to do the discharges for the day.  I got home again about 12:30 p.m.

On Thursday morning Megan and Soren and Sara took off for a few days at Rhino Camp.  They were a big help to us here and we wish them well as they return to Stanford to work on their prototype.  Sara got to help with a C/Section when she was here and was so excited to do that.

Megan returns tonight and will be here through Friday to work on her research.  Monday and Tuesday Dr. Isala and Major will be away in Chinhoyi for a 2 day District health meeting--so I get to be here by myself keeping the hospital running.  I refer all C/Sections to Karoi if there any--so we pray everything will keep very quiet!

 Soren at work on our computers, Sara and Megan in background working

 Sara helping with a C/Section

 Soren and Sara

Our 2 C/Sections patients and babies in recovery room

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Visitors again

Part of life at Chidamoyo is visitors in and out.  On the 25th of February our 5 Ohio state Medical students left for a few days at Victoria Falls and Harare before they left for home on the 2nd and 3rd of March.  We said goodbye to Muneeb, Seema, Kate, Sam and Sophia and wish them well in their matches for residency and future careers in medicine.

On the 24th of February we had Dr. David Katzenstein from Stanford and Dr. Aunet Rosenthal from Tel Aviv, Israel and Caroline Maposa from Harare here through the 26th.  We were discussing our research project we are doing with our 340+ kids on ART treatment for AIDS.  We discussed where do we go from now and what are some of the social issues of the kids who are failing on the drugs.  It was a fun and busy time.

On Monday the 27th we were joined by 3 other Ohio State Medical students who had been doing their elective in Harare and wanted a "bush experience" too.  Stu, Jessica and Cindy joined us for 4 days and got to help with a C/Section do some spinals and get a lot of hands on experience.  they really enjoyed their time--although we had no electricity until the very last night they were here.  They really enjoyed no electricity and no internet!!  They also are awaiting their match results on March 17--so we wish all of their anxieties well!

On March 5th Megan, our resident from Stanford returned to work on her research project she has been doing with us since August last year.  This time she brought Sara and Soren who are from Denmark doing research at Stanford!  He arrived wearing a SF Giant hat and T-shirt!!  He was very welcomed by me!  They are doing a research project here also using a dried blood spot collected on a menstual pad to look at the HPV virus that Megan is studying too.  They leave tomorrow to all go for a couple of days of safari viewing at Rhino Camp.

Megan and Sara will be back on Saturday afternoon and stay until the next Friday to work on their research in our Lab.

Work at the hospital has been very busy as Doctors in the country have been on strike for 3 weeks and nurses for 1 week so many more patients flocked to mission hospitals where we do not strike.  Mondays are always a big day and we work hard!

We received great news this past week that the government has granted us another post for a doctor so we are accepting applications and will hopefully be hiring a third doctor by the end of the month!!  This will be a big help to our work and to me too--no more call-ha!

I had a minor procedure done at a hospital in Harare on the 22nd and was out by 1 p.m.  Thought I might come back the same day but started not feeling so well and decided if I went over our bad roads I would really get sick by the time we got home.  We spent the night at the townhouse and I slept for 11 hours and woke up feeling so much better.  Had to have a Foley Catheter for 5 days which wasn't fun but finally made it through that and feel much better!  Hopefully this will help me a lot.

One of the joys of going to Harare these days is that with all this rain is that the roads are bad and the tarred roads have huge potholes.  You feel like you are in a video game with people driving in your lane at you to avoid their potholes and you swerving to miss your potholes.  Quite a competition!

We continue to have record rains--we are competing with California and actually there were landslides and floods in the southern part of the country.  Everyday I go measure from my rain gauge to see how much we get.

 Major leading the goodbye to Ohio state students

 Muneeb speaking for the students at the good-bye


Harare potholes

 Second group of OSU students helping with C/Section

 Jesecca holding the new C/Section baby

 Stu, Cindy and Jesica from OSU

Still having lots of rain


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Saying good-bye and saying hello

Julia had a great few days in Victoria Falls before flying home to Brisbane, Australia on the 9th of February.  We thank her for her work and help while here.

Michael Mereki also headed to Midrand, South Africa to start a new term of school on the 10th of February.  He is enjoying his studies and is half way through, having finished 2 years and starting his 3rd now.  We thank him for being our driver and clerk at the hospital during his vacation time from school!

On the 5th of February we were joined by 5 final year Ohio State University Medical students who chose to do an elective here.  We had Sam, Muneeb, Seema, Sophia and Kate.  They are with us until the end of the month when they will do some traveling to Victoria Falls before leaving.  Next week they go to Rhino Camp with Major for 2 nights to see some animals!

We have been keeping them busy at the hospital and they have gone out on our outreach teams and with Megan in collecting her field samples for her research.  Megan has been here for the last couple of weeks and has been a big help to me getting meals on the table.

On February 8  Dr. Isala's wife Lorraine got very sick with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) after working all day.  We got her stabilized with meds and IVs and he rushed her off to Chinhoyi Hospital where there is an OB/GYN specialist.  She was only 7 months, and they made it only as far as Karoi where she had an emergency C/Section.  Their daughter was born 10 weeks early and died after 8 hours.  In the meantime Lorraine got sicker and needed blood so they transferred her to Harare--stopping in Chinhoyi to get 1 unit of blood into her.  She ended up having to have dialysis for kidney failure for 3 days and finally she is doing much better and we hope for her discharge by the end of this week.  Please be in prayer for them during this difficult time.  We are thankful she is on the mend!

with Dr. Isala gone for the last 1 1/2 weeks it has been good to have the medical students and we are keeping everyone busy!

I have been on 17 days of 2 different IV medications and having had several cannulas put in my arms which are now sore and bruised. I have managed to make up my meds and give myself the IV medication each day and only missed an afternoon of work, so I was happy for that.  The doctor told me he wanted me in the hospital and I said that I work in a hospital--so "I am in the hospital everyday!"  I am on my way to see my urologist tomorrow in Harare and hopefully this is the end of the infections I have been going through since October last year!  I am slowly feeling better and getting my strength back--yeah!

 Julia saying good-bye at the hospital

Megan and Julia

 Megan working with Sam and Kate

 Megan working with Seema

 Megan and Dr. Munodawafa with Seema, Sam, Kate, Sophia and Muneeb

Kathy with the students and Dr. Munodawafa


Saturday, February 11, 2017

New visitor, weekend at Batanai and Surgeons came, saying goodbye to Julia

On Saturday the 14th Julia Peacock from Brisbane, Australia arrived as our visitor for 1 month.  She is a nurse who works as an Operating Nurse.  She is here on her vacation time to work with us.

On Monday Dr. Megan Fitzpatrick from Stanford University arrived to start her research project and will be with us for several weeks in the next few weeks as she is data collecting.

On Friday night at prayer time we celebrated that Carolyn Mereki passed her A levels with 7 points.  We took time to thank God and sing and dance.

On Saturday the 21st it was our support group for our older AIDS kids.  We also have a group for their caregivers.  We had a time of questions and answers and then served tea, hard boiled eggs and bread and biscuits for them to take home.   They really look forward to this time and it is so exciting to see the kids as they have grown up on medication to keep them alive and they are doing well.

Saturday afternoon I took Julia and Megan to Major's and my village to spend the night and see how village life is.  We went to church on Sunday morning and then spent the rest of the day looking at my fields, enjoying the rain .  We tried to go home at 7 p.m. and had to turn around and go back to Batanai because the river was too full to cross  and wait a couple of hours and we finally got across about 930 p.m.  It was a busy weekend!

On this last Friday our surgeons from Harare came and this time 2 surgeons, 2 anesthetists and 1 scrub nurse came.  Dr. Mashayamombe and Dr. Ruwizhu joined Mr. Kuwaona and Dr. Kajese.    They ate dinner and at 8:30 p.m. started surgeries.  Julia help scrub until 4 a.m. after she got back from 3 days of safari!   They kept going until noon on Saturday--doing 18 cases!  They are such hard workers it wears all of us out!!  It is such a big help to our patients to have their skills and help.  So many people are helped that can't afford to go to Harare and also pay for surgeries.

This has been a busy week with ZACH trainers in HIV joining us from Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon.  They had sponsored 2 workshops for us with Village Health Workers and Community leaders on Wednesday and Thursday to inform them of the new Ministry of Health guidelines of test all for HIV and if you are positive get treated.  They are helping us get the message out to all of our villagers.  We also spent time talking about Typhoid which we have been fighting an outbreak since December.  We have had over 120 cases to date but i8t seems to be getting better as we only have had 11 new cases this week.  The government and some NGO's have been helping us with drugs to treat and working with the villages to bring soap and clean water supplies.  We are thankful for that.

Today was Julia's last day of work.  She leaves tomorrow for Harare and Victoria Falls and then home to Australia on Thursday.  She has been a big help to us and very friendly and fun to be around.

Megan has been here for the last 2 weeks working on her research and has her data collectors out getting samples.  She is running the samples in our lab and so far has almost 200 samples collected out the 400 she needs.  Julia has gone out in the villages with her some of the days.

We continue to have plenty of rain.  We were wondering what sunshine looked for awhile but we finally got a few hours of sunshine and heat this week and this morning and then this afternoon we got a big storm that hit with plenty of rain!! They were sweeping out rain that was running in my kitchen backdoor this afternoon--it looked like a flood!

I started back on the IV medication for my UTIs this week and hopefully will be able to go for a scope mid-next week if I can stay bacteria free for a day! 

Dancing to celebrate Carolyn's passing her exams

Kids support group Saturday

Tea time with the kids

Julia washing her hands to eat at the village

Tete Jeri cooking sadza for us at Batanai

Church service Sunday morning at Batanai

Sunset at Baton

My maize field at Batanai

My field of peanuts

Megan's data collectors at work

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Great New Years Start 2017!

On Jan 2, I worked in the morning since it was a holiday here and then in the afternoon headed for Harare with Major, his wife Patience and his daughter Carolyn and son Michael. 

We were able to meet up for a few minutes with Dr. Jono Mbangani, from Australia and his brother Desmond from Botswana and see them after many years away.  Dr. Mbangani was our doctor here from 2002-2005 before they moved to Australia.  He and his wife Eva recently lost their oldest son in November this year due to a freak accident.  They had planned this trip home to see relatives before this accident and so it was a hard trip home for them.  We were happy to see Dr. Mbangani and talk for a few minutes before they left and we left as we were on our way to the airport.

At 0105 a.m. on January 3 Major, Patience and Carolyn and I boarded an Ethiopian Airlines jet and headed off on a 1 week vacation.  Michael was suppose to join us but had to go to South Africa to write some exams at the last minute.  We flew to Addis Ababa and then transferred to fly to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

We arrived about 2 p.m. the same day and headed for our hotel in Stonetown.  We had kept our destination a surprise from Patience and Carolyn and so they were so excited.  We checked in and then went for a walk to the ocean--2 blocks away.  We dipped our feet into the Indian Ocean and just enjoyed a fish dinner at an outside eating place on the beach to watch the sun go down.  Then we walked back to the hotel and slept right away having missed a night of sleep.

The next day after breakfast we headed out for a spice tour.  Known as the Spice Island of Tanzania they grow many spices.  We enjoyed seeing black pepper, vanilla, cardimon, cinammon and many different spices and fruits to taste.  Then we went on a 45 minute boat ride to Prison Island and saw the big land turtles and went swimming off the Island before returning to our hotel about 5 p.m.

We went out that evening to the square by the ocean where every night vendors sell dinner.  They have shrimp on a stick, chipati, samosas and meat and potatoes and we just bought a little of this and that to try and it was delicious with the different spices they use there.  It was an easy 15 minute walk back to our hotel.

The next morning we went on a walking tour of the city with our guide.  We enjoyed seeing the markets, the old houses, House of Wonders and had some time to shop. 

At 1 p.m. they came and picked us up to go to the East Coast of the Island where we had 5 nights in Matemwe.  We stayed in a bungalow right near the ocean with a pool also.  They had wonderful food and we just spent the next 5 days relaxing, sleeping, reading, eating and walking in the ocean and on the shore.  We went out snorkeling one morning and all of the Mereki's eventually got in the water--they don't swim so it was quite a deal for them and big entertainment for the boat including our boat driver! 

We had internet at the dining room there so we caught up on our internet, I read 4 books on my Kindle and just enjoyed being by the ocean with wonderful weather and warmth.  We slept with an air conditioner and fans on and no blankets!

Major entertained himself with all the vendors who tried to sell him things and he couldn't understand their English!  We went one day for a massage with coconut oil and Carol got Henna done on her hand!

On our way back we had a night in Addis Ababa and when we got off the plane the cold hit us!  They are in the Northern Hemisphere and it was winter cold!  We got to our hotel and jumped into bed with blankets!  The next morning we left for the airport at 0700 and it was about 40 degrees--we were freezing!!  We had lightweight sweaters and sandles on!

We arrived home about 1 p.m. Wednesday and after some grocery shopping headed for our next destination--exotic Chidamoyo-ha!

We have had 2 busy days at work and lots of rain.  Last night we had over 3 inches in 24 hours with heavy rain during the night.  On Thursday we tried to get to our vaccination clinic and ART clinic at Batanai and couldn't get across the flooded river, so had to send the car again today and do it a day late!  Amazingly our electricity has stayed on throughout the heavy rains.  We had over 6 inches in the week were gone, so crops are looking good.  I guess we are trying to compete with Northern CA and all the rain they have received this week and flooding too!

Major heads back to Harare today to pick up a new guest arriving from Australia.  Hopefully I can get some wash out and get it dried if it doesn't rain!!

Dr. Mbangani with Mereki family and Kathy

  • Sights of Zanzibar!