Feb 18…a bit late

I wasn’t able to post this last week, so here is some news, a bit late… <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

Hello to everyone once again. I understand most of you experienced a bit of snow over the weekend and I’m sad to say I wasn’t around. We tried bargaining with the sun yesterday, but he’d have none of it. We also tried reverse psychology, but also to no avail. Instead we are resigned to wait for cooler temperatures.

Yesterday and today both Jon and I attended a skin clinic which was interesting, but perhaps not quite as interesting as being on the ward. Yesterday we were in a tiny room (smaller than any exam room in the states) with 8 medical students including us plus one physician and the patient. Needless to say it was a bit stifling. Yesterday we didn’t see anything completely unusual, just much more exaggerated than what we’d see at home. Either people wait much longer to seek medical care or it is difficult for them to attain it, but most likely a combination of the two.

Today was the pediatric derm clinic (of course I was a bit more excited about this than Jon) and it proved more interesting than yesterday. We saw a lot of eczema and TONS of bug bites. Not just many kids with bug bites, but many kids with many bug bites. Some of the kids easily had 50 just on their legs. Then of course they scratch them which leads to secondary bacterial infections, but luckily it’s easy and cheap to treat the infections. Teaching the parents to keep their children in pants in the evenings and to have them sleep under mosquito nets is probably the more difficult part of treatment. Since the doctors usually communicate to the patients in Luganda, I don’t know how well they explain treatments and recommendations to them (my extensive knowledge of Luganda just doesn’t help much). Judging by the length of time they spend explaining (10 seconds maybe), I’m guessing the explanation isn’t very complete!

In addition to the bug bites and eczema, we saw one little girl, probably around 3, who had a horrible looking rash on her neck. Her skin was completely broken down with the sore open and oozing a bit. If that sounds gross, then you’re getting the picture. I had no idea what it was. It looked almost as if it was a fresh burn, but in a very strange spot. The doctor explained that it was due to a toxic substance from the Nairobi fly! It’s actually a small beetle that sometimes gets into peoples’ homes and doesn’t actually bite, but when people, and especially kids, feel the sensation of the beetle crawling on them and go to get rid of it, they often inadvertently squish the bug causing the release of the toxins. The toxin is very corrosive to the skin and leaves this horrible patch which is susceptible to infection since it’s open to the air. If it doesn’t get infected it will heal on its on, but he chose to give antibiotic prophylaxis. Not a skin condition I want to personally experience!!

I think that’s all for today…

Katie

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One Response to “Feb 18…a bit late”

  1. Diane (Mom) Says:

    Hi Katie,
    I am a frequent poison ivy recipient so I am familiar with incessant itching. Those poor little children!! Your description will remind me to pray for them. Keep up the good work – I’m sure that the children appreciate you.
    Love Diane – Jon’s Mom

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