Monday, May 12, 2008

Health Care in Banda Before...

The only health care available in Banda is “The Strategy,” a 2-room outpatient health clinic. It is staffed by one nurse on rotation for two months at a time from the local health center. The office is only open weekdays, often for morning half-days only. There is no emergency health care available after hours.

Services offered are minimal. Vaccinations are brought monthly from the health center, and there are antibiotics for treatment of minor infections. There are no maternity services offered. The medication supply (pictured above) is minimal and unreliable.

The Strategy has a poor reputation amongst the community, and with good reason. It is understaffed, undersupplied, and has insufficient hours.

The nearest “referral center” is a 2 hour walk from Banda to the district health center. Pregnant women often make this hilly walk while in labor, only to find that there are no services available to manage a complicated pregnancy. The only choice for at risk or complicated deliveries is to continue the walk 4 more hours (6 hours total) to the district hospital.

During my month in Banda, 2 young children (that I knew of) died in the village, both complications of childbirth that would be easily treatable at a hospital. I would estimate that an average of 20-40 lives per year would be saved by the presence of an ambulance in Banda.

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