Day 4: 27.04.2021 (Tuesday) --Freedom Day
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Today is Freedom Day, a national holiday commemorating the first post-apartheid elections in 1994. The past 27 years have brought massive development but many people have been left languishing in blind hope and desperation.
Indeed, most of the development has focused on the cities while rural communities are still suffering from exclusionary economic policies and neglect that forces people into evasive healthcare seeking behaviour, where patients delay consulting in favour of hustling for work and survival.
Waiting an entire day for a consultation means a day's work lost, which is an unforgivable delay considering the average wage of a menial worker (R150.00 or approximately 10USD for a day of back-breaking work*). The result is that when patients come to our hospital they are often in critical need and/or carrying damage that is beyond our capacity to repair.
Rural hospitals host the most vulnerable patients, with low chance to be accepted to referral centres and so we have to be creative with resources and have better diagnostics to fight for the rights of our patients to be seen by specialist care.
(For example, a patient in a higher resource city who needs dialysis may get a kidney ultrasound and rapid blood tests at their local hospital allowing them to get prioritised for the waiting list. Our patients, on the otherhand, may die waiting for this same expensive objective evidence that would allow us to advocate for their care.
I digress...today, the painters came in to finish painting the red zone (casualty) so that we can urgently put the beds back in. It looks fabulous. Durable splash-proof dark grey that wont stain and age easily.
All 14 electrical sockets were also fixed and replaced.
TOMORROW: we are gong to attempt to attack the phenomenally dilapidated RESUS ROOM
(a major endeavour, as we have to carefully reposition the critical equipment to ensure not disturbing the workflow of a resuscitation)
1) Strip and prep the room for painting
2) Remove ancient, rusted poorly positioned cupboards that we constantly knock our heads against
3) Removing the ridiculous non-functional surgical lights which are an electrocution risk (and partially fossilised)
4) Scrape the old paint off the windows in the resus room for natural light
--calling a plumber in to fix the toilet (including installing a seat and new cistern and basins)
--checking in again with the signage people at Me Grafix to see if we can have some signs donated to point people to casualty (as explained before...there are currently NO signs that tell patients this is casualty, so random people just walk in asking for directions and critical patients get lost on the hospital grounds!)
*10USD in South Africa is just about enough for 2 KFC box meals