One day Fatime presented to the hospital. She was feeling extremely weak and complained of having had a fever. She also looked very pale. We tested her for malaria and also checked her iron levels. Emmanuel, our lab technician, told me that she was ill with malaria and that her iron levels were dangerously low.
The lab © MSF
Fatime needed a blood transfusion. Finding blood is not always easy as people are wary about donating to people who do not belong to their tribe or their family. Fortunately in Fatime's case we were able to get blood very quickly because her husband had family living in town. A crowd of men came to donate. She received a total of three blood transfusions and a week later left feeling much stronger. Not all cases we see in Tissi maternity unit are complicated!
Most women deliver without complications and breastfeed immediately without having to be told how to do it. If they need help we are there to assist them but because they have seen numerous women in their families breastfeeding and because they have not been bombarded with information on how to breastfeed they do it naturally and easily.
One of our patient's with her baby at her breast. © MSF
Back in the compound where we live the rain does impact our life to a small extent. Sometimes it rains so hard that we get stuck in the kitchen and get drenched running back to our tukuls. It takes a supreme effort to get up in the middle of the night to go to the latrine while it is pouring with rain. When tucked up in bed the last thing you want to do is get your wellington boots on, put your rain jacket on and position the torch round your head and venture out into the rain.Being called to the maternity at night while it is raining is quite an adventure!
Because it is the rainy season we do not get any fresh fruit and vegetables in Tissi. Our diet consists mainly in rice, chicken and beans. Fortunately the team in Abeche sends us a box of fresh fruit and vegetables each week.
I finally got to stroke one of the little sad donkeys in Tissi! We were waiting for the little plane to land at the airstrip when a little girl on her donkey appeared. I think she was rather surprised I wanted to stroke the donkey but smiled when I did. Donkeys and horses have a sad life here, I felt like taking them all home with me.
Tajara and donkey © MSF