At the risk of inundating all of you with more Zigama Mama news (see here for part I), I wanted to continue to share the next part of the story with everyone. When ZM was set up, part of the program was not just training nurses and doing ultrasounds/scheduling C-sections, but actually going out to each of the 17 health centers in our district to make sure the program was going ok, requirements were being followed, and collecting some data sheets from each center.
I've actually been really excited about this part. I've come to realize that in my six years here in Burundi, I have become very much a creature of habit. I used to think of myself as somewhat adventurous, but now I go to the same places and do the same things every day. I shop in the same one store, I take the same route to Bujumbura, I visit the one tourist destination by us (the waterfalls), I walk the same path to the hospital every day. Even in Buja, we visit the same restaurant, the same grocery, the same hotel with swimming pool. Part of this is finding the thing you like and sticking with it, part of it is that there's just not many new places to go or opportunities to go there. Or that everything starts to look the same, and you wonder if it's worth the effort to keep exploring. But the health center visit was a chance for me to actually venture off the beaten paths (sometimes literally) and see a totally different aspect of life here. Months went by with many cancelled trips and I started to despair that these visits were ever going to happen...but as usual here, all of a sudden one day last week the pieces came together and the next day I found myself in the hospital truck with one of my OB nurses and the district health officer and we were off!
|We are located in Gitega province, right in the middle of the country.|
The first thing that impressed me was the actual travel to each health center. We were on paved roads for the first 5-10 minutes of the day and then spend another hour on dirt roads, usually smooth but occasionally a bit hairy given the recent rains, before we arrived at the first health center, Mahonda. So, driving a decent vehicle still took over an hour from the hospital to the health center. Most patients are not in decent vehicles--they walk, take bicycles or small motorcycle taxis, or sometimes ride in a rickety-looking station wagon-type taxi. Thankfully, women is labor who need a transfer get to ride in the ambulance, but still...if the transfer is because she needs an emergent C-section or the baby is in distress, there is no quick way to do this.
|Road leading to Mahonda health center|
|Road leading away from Buriza health center|
|CDS Mahonda staff, along with my OB nurse Moussa and the district health officer, Melance|
|CDS Buraza, one of the "super" health centers in the center of their commune|
|CDS Buriza, the newest health center in our district (opened by the president a year ago in August)|
Thanks to all of your for your support and enthusiasm for our project. I look forward to seeing its impact continuing to unfold over the next year, and even beyond.
|Beautiful terraced hills on the road to Buriza|