Today I dressed wounds in the surgical ward. Now I’ve dressed wounds before, but these were some of the largest I’ve ever seen. The patients buy their own vinegar, iodine, and saline solution – yeah, when you clean the wound with that mixture… it hurts. ALOT. From what I’ve seen, doctors and nurses typically don’t hold patients’ hands in any situation. But the women whose wounds I dressed today seemed to really appreciate that I did.
The biggest problem is the stigma attached to hospitals: the people think that they do not have enough money to go, so they wait. In the meantime, the wound gets severely infected until they have no other choice. When they finally come to the hospital, they need to spend far more money than they originally would have had they come earlier. To make matters worse, people tend to go to herbalists for help because they are cheaper and more accessible, which results in the same situation. To most, a hospital is a place where people go to die, so of course they use it as a last resort. Most of the wounds I see began as minor lacerations. I have seen two cases where this problem led to the loss of a limb. The Public Health division of the hospital is making an effort to educate the community, but it is very difficult to change a long ingrained attitude.
Though I am beginning this blog on a serious note, there is much about Koforidua and the hospital to be happy about. I have some good stories to share and good pictures to upload. The computers here are a bit less than reliable, but I will manage it!
Bye for now,