Second day at Maternal and Child Health Hospital (MCHH)

Niki Harding shares her experiences at the Maternal and Child Health Hospital (MCHH) with trainees Dr Annie, Yusif and their team.

“Massive culture shock on Day 1 – The hospital is very basic. It has a number of low buildings all surrounded by open drains or ditches to carry the rainwater. These are a foot or more deep and you wouldn’t want to fall down one. We have no running water in the hospital – it needs a new well and pump. Water everywhere is from tanks or small plastic bags – even on the labour ward. Highlights today – Dr Annie and her orphans. They came today to be weighed and measured and given food parcels; Newborn being scrubbed clean in the labour room sink. Janet went one better when a patient arrived in pain. The lady had already delivered the baby’s head while staff were discussing where she should be, and shortly delivered the rest of her baby. We are so precious of our patient’s dignity at home. We had a lady on the couch prepped for a TV scan and staff were at the open door shouting across the corridor for her notes to be brought.

But the dedication the staff have is incredible.

My scanning experience here was a baptism of fire as Yusif – lead Sonographer had brought back a number of patients for review by the “US Doctors”. So we commenced with an anencephalic at 26 weeks – subsequently referred to Nayana’s team – an encaphalocele, an ovarian terratoma and some pregnancies complicated by multiple large myomas, a twins case at 36 weeks with twins overlying one another in a cross. A difficult lie in which to assess anything.

This was all a bit of a challenge. Our second day fortunately has been a little more straight forward. But the Government target of an early and midtrimester scan still seems a far off target as many women are third trimester before they have their first scan.

Tony is a stalwart in keeping the programme on track. We met with the lead Sonographers this evening and got their views on what follow-up of outcomes they felt was achievable. They will be delivering lectures on Friday to boost local training initiatives. The good thing is that at my place the midwives are interested – expressing interest in getting involved with Ultrasound.

The clinic may be basic but I think I struck gold with Doctor Annie. Nothing is so bad if you can go shopping after! She has been lovely in showing me the city on our journeys between hotel and Hospital and I am stocking up on souvenirs too.

Having an amazing time!


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