Monday, 11 October 2010

Death in Sierra Leone

The following was published on a blog we follow:

Death seems to be part of everyday here in Sierra Leone - over the past couple of weeks there seem to be accounts of people dying perhaps uneccessarily.
We had some plumbing done recently in our house in Sierra Leone - the plumber had lost his 26 year old daughter 3 weeks ago. She had a dental extraction done by a dental quack. She apparently was unwell 5 days later and died from chest pain. There are no dentists here in Makeni and only a few in Freetown. I cant recall the exact number but I can remember being very surprised at how few there were.
At the local government hospital an aneasthetic nurses wife complained of a headache last Sunday whilst preparing vegetables for her 3 children. Her husband the aneasthetic nurse went to watch the football at a local bar and returned to find his wife dead. She was 36 years old. Apparently at the funeral last week - her father said he had now buried 6 out of his 9 children.
Recently I was given an account of a child being admitted to the children's ward. This child had been admitted very late on with whatever the condition was - but there was no cannula to insert the necessary treatment - although treatment was administered via an alternative route - there was also a lack of the appropriate drugs required. This child died.
There was a death due to Lasser fever recently in one of the local hospitals - the staff involved in the patients care required specialist monitoring incase they had contracted this fatal disease. One person I believe had tested positive but has been able to recieve appropriate treatment - but others are still being monitored closely.
At the government hospital last week - another VSOer and myself came across a woman who was 34 weeks pregnant. She had had 2 fits and was on a recognised pre-eclampsia treatment. But there was no surgeon working on that Friday when we saw her - and unlikely to be one available on the Saturday or Sunday. The fetal heart was 140 bpm and the mother's own pulse was 100 bpm. She was potentially going to have another fit - perhaps with a poor outcome for either the baby, herself or indeed both. I was with another VSOer and a referal to another hospital was made - however the receiving hospital have a policy of patients paying - I will follow up the outcome next week.
One of the student midwives lost her daughter in childbirth on the second day of her midwifery course. Her daughter died of a post partum heamorrhage. The child survived. The student midwife continues with her studies - this is how it is here in Sierra Leone.

I wonder what we would do if this was closer to home - if we were talking about 'Death in Cornwall' or if one of the families involved in the stories was ours...


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