Liam Writes from Lusangazi:
Daniel and I met the District Health Officers at Mzuzu Clinic today.
The purpose of the meeting was to arrange assistance, and primarily ambulance transport, for those who attend the Birthing Centre at Lusangazi. As it stands a woman who attends in labour is treated in the centre, and if complications arise she must somehow walk about 3km to the main road, wait for a car to come, and then get a lift to the clinic another 8km away. At the meeting was the Health Surveillance Assistant for the Lusangazi area, the Head of Community Nursing, the District Health Officer and his support staff.
The District Health Staff are delighted at the developments in Lusangazi. They would like to use the clinic as an outstation for their services.
We also came to a good compromise on the original issue. We will provide a telephone and extension lead for an existing telephone line so that calls can be received in the Maternity Department. Should an emergency arise the birth attendant can call the telephone number of the district health office, and at night this will be answered by the midwife on duty. She will then immediately dispatch the next available ambulance.
As it stands if somebody needs an ambulance in Mzuzu (the third largest city) they must get someone else to walk, cycle or hitch to the hospital or nearest health centre, notify a nurse to dispatch or request an ambulance by radio, and then escort it back to the patient.
This line means that not only will our birth attendant have access to an ambulance in an emergency, anybody can now ring the hospital to get one day or night 24/7.
Picture shows Tamala (left), the Health Surveillance Assistant for Lusangazi, consulting with a client outside the Health Centre. All medical services in Lusangazi had been suspended due to lack of facilities but Tamala was so excited with the development of the clinic that she started providing her services before it was even opened. Last week she vaccinated 30 children under 5, and dipped over 200 mosquito nets in insecticide. Malaria had been the cause of the death of a young girl opposite the clinic last year, so the community is very much aware of the need to dip nets.