We had a great system going at the clinic last Tuesday. One of the nurses was seeing patients and then after they would go see her they would come see me for malaria pills. At this clinic they give all of the pregnant women 3 tablets of sulfaxdoxine mixed with pyremethamine three times throughout their pregnancy. They are anti- malarial tablets, so they are given to protect the mother and the fetus. They receive their first dose anytime after 16 weeks of pregnancy, then 1 month after the first dose , then again after another month. I had to learn a little dialogue in Fante to be able to give the tablets to the patients. This way I could ask them questions and to be able to communicate with them. They all got a kick out of seeing a white girl attempting to speak their language and would smile or sometimes even break out into laughter! I would say good morning which is “maakye” and then say their name. Then I would ask the woman if she had eaten which is pronounced “ way - dee- dee?” If she said “aane” I could give her the pills and “nsu” which is water and ensure that she took all three in front of me. If they answered “daabi” which means no, I had to send them to eat something and to come back which is “wo co di aba”. The pills would make them very nauscious if they were taken on an empty stomach. I was reading about this pill and apparently it is contradicted during pregnancy but I suppose the risks outweigh the benefits. There are other anti-malarials available in the area but one of them has been known to have developed some resistance now so they don’t use it as much.
There were 38 women at the clinic when I arrived there that morning. The midwife was telling me that they run this same antenatal clinic every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and that each day it is a different group of women that come in. It is definitely a busy clinic since they have to do vitals, HIV screening, tetanus shots, palpation, and give malaria pills to each of the women.
Later on that afternoon we delivered a baby! It was a girl! From what I have seen a baby here receives two names. One will be their everyday name, for example Mary. Then their second name will be their Ghanaian name which is given according to the day they were born. This little baby’s name will be “Abina” meaning Tuesday born. Nurses at the clinic often refer to me as “Sister Aba” which is Thursday born.
The midwife that was working that day spoke English very well which allowed me to ask her questions about the deliveries that I have seen at the clinic. She told me that it is a cultural custom here for the woman to keep her placenta after it is delivered and to take it home with her to bury it. According to her they have a small ceremony and celebrate the new life. She also told me that they don’t practice putting the baby to the mom’s chest right away at this clinic as they believe it will induce shock in the woman. She said that they take the baby and clean it and keep it separate from the mother until the mother is all cleaned and is in a ward bed comfortably resting. I found that very interesting since at school I was taught how putting the baby to the mother’s chest right after birth was important for attachment and for regulating the baby’s temperature to the new environment. She asked me if we gave the mom the baby right away in Canada and I told her that from what I have seen they do and that I was taught in school that it was beneficial. She could not believe that so it was fun to compare our cultural practices, although both of us can only speak on behalf of what we have seen during our time working with patients.
Tomorrow is the end of another work week! I can’t believe how quickly time is going by! This weekend Caro & I are travelling to Kumasi. We are leaving bright and early Saturday morning that way we will have plenty of time to explore the Kejetia market. Apparently this is the largest open market in Western Africa! Watch out we are both ready to shop!!
We are also planning on going to Kofofrom which is a small village nearby where we are going to take part in a sculpture workshop! The sculptures are made from beeswax, clay, and coconut hair. Caro & I aren’t artists but who knows, maybe we will discover a new talent of ours at this workshop!
Well that’s all for now! I’ll update again soon!