A Day in Outreach in Malawi (part 2)

A Day in Outreach in Malawi (part 2)

By Sr. Pauline Amulen, MMM, Lilongwe, Malawi

We visit our patients twice every week. It is always an exciting moment for the homebased care team to go and deliver their services to those in most need who are unable to reach the health centre. In every visit we often plan to visit 5 to 6 clients in a day. I began the story last month with the first visit to Sarah and her grandmother.

The second visit was to “Agogo” which is grandmother. When we arrived in the compound, it was all quiet with the door closed, “Agogo” was inside alone, lying on a raggy mat in a dusty room in the dark. The family members had all gone to their daily work. A neighbor having seen us stranded came to open the door for us to go in to see her. She was very delighted to hear our voices. With limited energy in her body due to hunger, she struggles to talk, and she says, “The food you gave me the last time you came helped me to gain some energy, that is why I am able to sit up, but it is now finished, and I am very hungry.” For sure, there was no sign of any food in any corner of the house when we rolled our eyes around. Her daughter later came and found we were still around, so we encouraged her to come and pick some food items for her Mam in the clinic.

Thirdly we visited Anajere another “Agogo”. Agogo Anajere is in her 80s but she is getting weaker every day. When we arrived the caretaker helped her to sit up so that we could chat with her. She really can’t sit for a long time, but this day because she was enjoying our company she didn’t want to lie down again. We were rubbing her dry back and she seemed to enjoy this so much. She has always promised us that one day she will sing for us. On this particular day she said she would love to sing but she could not remember the song. The carer started a familiar hymn and we all joined in a chorus singing and clapping hands. She was so delighted to sing and never wanted to stop singing. Agogo and her carers are always happy to see us around and are very thankful for our support to her and to them and the entire family.

Next, we visited Paul who is in his late 70s. He is battling a stroke. He was excited to see us arrive in the shade outside his house where he always sits. We had a chat with him, and he was happy to speak the little Kiswahili he remembers. We offered him massage on his arms, and we encouraged him to stand and move a little. He was so collaborative to do every exercise we asked him to do, and he promised us he would continue doing exercises daily. We also discovered that he stopped taking his blood pressure drugs a year ago because at that time he felt he was fine. Without his medication his blood pressure has gone very high again. We encouraged the family to take him back to the hospital to be re assessed after which he should take the medication that he will be given daily without fail whether feeling better or not. We educated him on the implications of not taking his medication properly.

Finally, before we closed our day’s work, it was afternoon in the scorching sun, yet we had one more patient to visit in the nearby village. This village could not be accessed by car. We put our feet down and walked to that village, a 20-minute walk. Unfortunately, on arrival at the house the neighbours told us that the condition of the patient was critical and he is admitted to a local clinic. Mr. Isaac suffers from both hypertension and is a diabetic. He had a stroke and also went blind. We hope we find him home and feeling better in our next visit to him next week.