Every hospital has to have a special area where the sickest patients can receive effective care with a good ratio of nurses to patients. This can be called an intensive care unit or high dependency unit or recovery ward. We are doing our best to train anaesthetists and nurses to care for our very sick patients in the intensive care unit and training is an essential on going process.
Fr.Jeya was in London in July 2013. He met with Paddy Boyle, Ray Towey and Tony Charlton. It was a great opportunity to get first hand news of conditions in Zimbabwe especially in his parish area among the Tonga people. These people are among the most deprived ethnic group in Zimbabwe. Fr.Jeya’s parish must be the most physically deprived area of Africa. The health care is very basic and the schools need the most fundamental support. Even in this 21st century there are children having classes in the open air under the shade of trees. It is a privilege to be working with Fr.Jeya a Franciscan missionary whose home was in India and who is devoting his life to the evangelisation and material help of the poorest of the poor in Africa.
This photo is showing Dr.Raymond teaching the final year anaesthetic students in the ICU. The value of the anaesthetists contribution to ICU is now becoming established in rural Africa as the curriculum now includes specific items on ICU training. The child was on a ventilator and suspected of having taken a poison that paralysed his muscles. The challenge is to be able to provide low cost intensive care that will be sustainable in rural Africa and available to the poor. Many of these students will return to hospitals that have no capacity at this stage to set up an intensive care unit but seeing the work in St.Mary’s Hospital will plant a seed in their minds for the future.
This man is now out of danger but when he was admitted he could hardly breath as he had been bitten by a snake. This is not an uncommon occurrence for African farmers and is a big danger. While most snake bites are not a problem this man became paralysed by the poison and had to be put on a ventilator for 36 hours. You see him in the photo a very happy patient. He knows that he had a very close call and he values the work of his nurse and anaesthetist very highly.
This 12 year old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit on 1 July 2013 with tetanus which is a disease that causes severe muscular spasms. Sometimes simple medicines control the spasms but if the disease is severe then nothing will stop the spasms until the patient is completely paralysed and put on a ventilator. This boy’s spasms were so severe that he had to be put on a ventilator after 5 days. Now in August he has survived and is re-learning to walk. To survive 5 weeks of intensive care in any country is a great achievement to the whole ICU team but in rural Africa it is a very special achievement. We thank God and all the nurses, anaesthetists and doctors who worked so hard to give this boy a chance of life.