Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hospital Visit

Today we went to one of the two biggest hospitals in Bamako. Among other things I was upset about how much space was in the whole hospital. The health system in Mali is much different than America. First a person, if they can afford it, goes to a clinic. This is the basic level of care; there are elementary blood tests, a doctor that can prescribe medicine, and a room for resting if need be. (^^ Proof that I am alive!! I am with my friends Sarah and Luke in Sikasso^^)Next if the treatment does not work at the clinic a person goes to the CRef. A CRef is a more advanced healthcare center. There are more tests one can take and more medications. While a Clinic has one doctor, a CRef has more, depending on need. Lastly there is the hospital. This is the most expensive care and therefore weeds out when a person makes the ultimate decision to get care or not get any care. Which mildly explains the lack of room at the hospital. Point G was incredibly accommodating in the how much they want to help, but basic mathematics explain otherwise. In the size of a hospital double room, they had six people. Also is rudimentary care they were also lacking. From the open drainage system to the mold growing on the walls it was rotten to think that this was the best care that Mali could give. I also began to think about how people most likely get sick in the hospital as well, which while seeming ironic seems inevitable here. However unsanitary the hospital seemed, they did have a lot of good ideas and good programs. For all women suffering from fiscalation, there was an entire compound for surgery, treatment, and recovery. The women could stay for as long as the needed. Also because these women were shunned from their village, they are allowed to raise their child there. Also there are specific buildings for each type of health education, which is also rewarding because that means there are that many doctors in the hospital. However the nightly nurse is a medical student and therefore has not been trained in all the necessary precautions and that is unnerving if something ever happened during the night. All and all I was surprised at the state of the hospital. When we were walking out a man jumped into the drainage system to pull out his shoe. It seemed like a joke, but then he went into a building. I am unsure of who he was exactly but when everything is drained into it, I couldn’t imagine anyone in the state allowed into a hospital in America. But I am learning. On a better note I am trying to do something daring each day. Yesterday my friends and I caught a sitiroma during rush hour and got home. A Sitiroma is the public transportation system in Bamako. They are green vans that hold an uncountable number of people, that travel to specific neighborhoods and you must find the right one to get home. Finding the sitiroma was half the battle, then finding one that was not full was equally as difficult. At first we just kept walking in every direction anyone would point us. It was frustrating and finally we just said we were going to take a taxi. It was upsetting but we needed to get home. On out way to a street not full of sitiromas we saw “Kalaban Coura ACI” illuminated in the windshield of a sitiroma with Bob Marley painted everywhere. It was like a gift that the Malian Spirits decided to give us at the perfect moment. Well we ran up to it and piled in before the correct stop. But we were in for a treat. At the stop people fought to get onto the van. It was like a mini riot just for our eyes. People literally squeezed on through the wooden benches, between fighting arms, and finally the driver’s assistant capped the passengers and we headed on. Had we known there was a specific stop I don’t know if I would have done anything different. But I was totally glad that we got home. I was in shock that is worked out so well for us and then we got popsicles. It was a day to remember. Today I am going to ask my family politically driven questions. I can always play the “I didn’t know” card and move on. I need to present a news article to my class and figured my family can help me out a bit. Finally I have found a sort of niche each day. I like to go to the cyber a few times a week and get to know the cartier also. I have found a great ice cream place, and now I am looking for tailors, and eatable street food. I just want to be able to know my way around and even more look like I know my way around. I am tired of people giving me their advice, help, and leading me places when I can do it on my own. While the country is known for its friendliness, I can do it alone. See you soon!!

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