Dying patients, Deforestation, and Leprosy.

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Sat, 13 Mar 2010 | 0 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Randomness never seems particularly random. It took shuffle on i-tunes to point this out to me.

While we work hard to provide good medicine in Kiwoko, and have seen a dramatic reduction in death rates in recent years, not all our patients go home alive. Hardly surprising given the fact that 10% would be admitted to an intensive care unit in a hospital in the UK, but still disappointingly true. Sometimes weeks go by without a death, and severely sick people consistently get better, but then a few weeks can also happen when everybody seems to die and you have to start wondering if you’ve lost it. We’re usually somewhere in the middle thankfully.

After quite a few cases of meningitis in recent weeks, we’ve had a number of folk with severe pneumonia in the last few days – and 2 folk with infections of their heart valves. Thankfully after a week of discouragement 2 severely sick lads made it through Thursday night after spending most of my day controlling their uncontrolled fast heart rate, infections and fluid overload.

Yesterday I admitted someone with a severe wound on her foot. She’s had it for months. After a bit more questioning she explained how she had completed her leprosy treatment last August. Leprosy was declared extinct a few years ago – because there were so few cases in the world it was no longer statistically significant. Clearly for this lady it has been statistically pretty significant, the infection is probably now deep in the bones of her foot and an amputation may be required.

A few weekends ago Dr Raul and I borrowed two small motorbikes and rode North from here. Sadly the prayers for weeks asking for rain were answered that morning and it was rather wet, muddy and cold! We were both mightily struck by the extent of deforestation taking place. One section we rode past for a few miles was like something from a war film – no trees and a stench of burning in the air from the charcoal making. Charcoal is made as a fuel for cooking – and daily (or rather nightly to avoid the revenue men) 20 lorries drive through Kiwoko en route for Kampala. Very soon we will have cut down all our trees. Poor people can make money to pay for their children’s education by making charcoal. No other crop can raise such income. While few think it’s an ideal situation, most reason that worrying about tomorrow is a luxury only open to the rich. Sadly clear political leadership on such issues will come too late for Uganda.

Hardly likely to make much of an impact on the problem – but we’ve been planting some Teak, Mavule and Mahogany in recent months which all seem to be doing well.

I guess discouragement, statistical manipulation and deforestation probably affect us all – small world.

Hope your day is good.

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