After seeing off most of the US visitors on Sunday the 28th of January, I returned home to Chidamoyo to welcome on Tuesday our research team from Harare. Nine people arrived and stayed through Friday morning. We had David from Stanford, CA and Dr. Anat from Tel Aviv, Israel and then 7 people from BRTI Laboratories in Harare that are helping us with the research.
Our research proposal is to study our 21 and unders on ART medication for AIDS. We went on our first run at Chiroti outreach center on Thursday the 1st of February and drew 22 kids. We worked out a lot of kinks in what we have to do—get consents signed, draw blood and do urines on all kids and give them their medications. It was a cloudy day and started to rain in a very holy roofed shed. Dr. Anat was holding an umbrella over me while I drew meds for a while! Quite exciting.
The team left Friday morning and left Happiness from BRTI to work with our lab to do the tests on the bloods. She stayed until the next Tuesday.
Two college graduates who arrived on the 17th of January, Claire and Erin from Illinois via University of Kentucky continue to work at the hospital and help in the research project. They were very helpful and most excited to do anything. We kept them busy even helping with our celebration and then at the hospital. Claire wants become a Physician Assistant and Erin a Medical Social Worker. They both will start Graduate school this next year.
They left for 5 days in Vic Falls before leaving on the 14th of February to go home after a month with us. We miss them.
On Monday a team of 6 Ohio State Medical students who are doing a month in Harare came to be with us for a “bush experience” for a week. We had Sola, Martins, Tanve, Kenneth, Van, and Chris. We kept them busy helping the doctor, making rounds, helping in surgery and with different procedures. They did everything from Lumbar Punctures, to Incision and Drainage and VIAC (visual inspection of cervix), to examining outpatients. They seemed to really enjoy their time and did some hiking around to see the area. They left on Sunday afternoon and I was suddenly all by myself!!
We have had amazing rains in February compared to our drought in January. It was hot and dry during most of January and for our celebration and travels afterwards. However, on January 31 through the 13th of February it rained everyday and hard! Of course, our electricity went off on the 31st and only came back on the 14th!! We did enjoy seeing crops come back to life in most areas and also be a lot cooler for us. It still continues to be a bit cloudy and a few drops on and off, with more rain forecast every day. People are happy!
We have been excited by some great progress our hospital has seen in helping us to provide quality medical care for our patients. In mid-January we were one of 25 hospitals in the country to be chosen to get 4 Samba machines that measure viral loads. This has been so helpful in getting quick results to know if our patients are failing their ART drugs. The tests takes 90 minutes. We are also using them to test our research bloods. We are very grateful we were chosen for this project and know this will help our patients in the long run.
We also received word this week that a grant that we applied for from the Japanese embassy was approved and they are spending almost $100,000 to get a digital X-ray machine. No more buying films, fixer, developers and envelopes. What a cost saving this will be to our patients and us! Now we can take several views too without wasting films and money. We will have a signing ceremony with the Embassy in Harare on May 9th and then we can start the project. We are so excited!
Through our research project we also have been able to get a new centrifuge, a new fridge/freezer for the lab and a file cabinet as well as lab help to get the samples run quickly and efficiently. We are thankful for that.
After no electricity for 12 days we finally got it back on Wednesday night in time for our Bible Study. We had all been going to bed early because of no electricity, now we stay up to get some things done!
Michael Mereki returned to school in South Africa on Sunday. He finishes his degree in November. His sister Carolyn is waiting for her visa to join him in school any day.
After so many visitors and so much to do it has been nice to relax and catch up on some work at home and the hospital.
Erin and Claire saying goodbye after devotions with Major
Erin and Claire with Kathy
Caroline from Harare explaining the research project
Team from BRTI labs with Dr. Anat and Dr. Katzinstein
Drawing bloods at Chiroti with umbrella helping us
Kenneth examining a patient
Tanve doing a lumbar puncture
Sola examining a patient
Tanve with a Pediatric patient
Kenneth and Tanve checking urines on our research kids
Martin drawing blood on a research kid