Well it’s Sunday again, another long week without much progress. We are still stuck, flooded in, unable to move via car or boat. Logistics has been unable to organize a cargo boat for supplies so we are running very low or are out altogether of many things like oxygen, therapeutic food, blood glucose test…. with no idea when we will get anything.
I think the river has peaked. It’s about 15cm from the top of the bank, that’s 15 cm away from flooding the compound so I hope that’s as high as it goes. Apparently the water on the road is reducing and tomorrow our field coordinator will attempt to get to Gambella to meet the Head of Mission. There’s a section of road that the car can’t get to so they will attempt a “kiss”: our car goes as far as it can and a car from Gambella does the same, and then you walk the difference – takes about an hour – to meet on the other side. Apart from this attempt, there’s not much else to do as we are forbidden to go on a cargo boat and any motor that would allow us to use our boat still hasn’t been fixed, replaced or hired. The mobile clinic is most likely finished in Jikow and Moun as we can’t get there without a boat. We will try to reach Pul-deng again tomorrow.
On Thursday we held a sort of clinic in the Ninenyang Health Centre as they are out of drugs and have a malaria crisis. It was a really hard day. The weather’s been heating up again and it was over 40 C in the shade. When people heard we were there they literally came running, babies in arms! I spent the day triaging, it was tough. We said we would only see urgent antenatal cases and malnourished kids, but over 1200 people came. As with any new clinic the people rush you, pull, tug and tap you, trying to get your attention for assessment. I constantly made them line up and only gave out a registration slip for the sickest. In the end roughly 1 in 8 people got through. To triage I just walked the line feeling foreheads, looking at eye lids and respiratory rates, purely visually assessing. We saw 176 patients. 97% were malaria positive, 10% of the kids were suffering from SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) and 32% from MAM (Moderate Acute Malnutrition).
It is pretty shocking considering it is the only other functioning health center between here and Gambella, and has a large population, and although it’s still malaria season, the hunger season finished two months ago.