Chinkuti is our most distant clinic and as it was the height of the rainy season when malaria is most prevalent we were expecting a busy day, so we set off early from our base at Nkhotakota at 07.00. We drove north on the tarmac road through Dwangwa and after 97 kilometers turned off into the bush onto the dirt roads which were in poor condition with flooding in many areas. The next 25 kilometers to Chinkuti village took over one hour - when we finally arrived there was a queue of at least 100 sick children with their parents or guardians - with more arriving every minute.
Whilst I gave my talk on Public Health and HIV/AIDS our two nurses performed triage to ensure we saw those very ill as soon as possible. Three urgent cases of malaria were seen first with the children comatose and close to death. I gave quinine by intramuscular injection with a second dose after 4 hours. By the end of the clinic when I checked up on them they were all awake and well enough to return to their villages - without intervention it is unlikely they would have survived the night.
Malaria was the most common complaint we saw, followed by respiratory tract infections with two cases of TB and one child we saw was diagnosed as epilectic.
One sad case was a very sick two-year old who arrived with her very sick mother who was herself, too ill to be able to walk and carried by a neighbour. The child and mother were both symptomatic of AIDS at an advanced state; we tested them and both were HIV positive. The child needed urgent in-patient care so we set off to take her to the Boma Hospital but it was too late, she died on the way. These are the challenges we face every day and amongst our successes there will always be those that medicine and our best efforts cannot help - but they just serve the strengthen our resolve.
It certainly was a busy day; we treated 197 sick children in all, saving many young lives.
Please enable us to continue this vital work by making a donation.
Mr Matson Dezi
Chief Clinical Officer