Wound care November 2015

In November I’ve been back two and a half week to Gambia. Here is an account of my stay.

To my great surprise, I saw that the wound care, from the moment of my departure in March, is done daily. Before the “dressing room” walked I kept briefly in the doorway and saw that the room was filled with patients who were on the ground, neatly in a row and two nurses who pressure were busy with taking care of all kinds of wounds. Well liked, but honestly did not expect, it looked so good! Nothing drop in the ocean, it does make a difference. The cabinet filled with all kinds of bandages, thus they can temporarily ahead. I have again given training in the application of dressings, wound care, but also discussed the importance of hygienic proceed. Medication Provision unfortunately remains a major problem. Tanka Tanka will receive little or no medication from the large hospital in Banjul (RVTH), which often, but comes to two kinds of pills. With the money from this Rivierenland Hospital is completed so that all patients receive at least the minimum of medication.

┬áThis problem goes for a lot of hospitals in Gambia. There are hardly in Gambia obtain medication and bandages, so it’s not a matter of order and pick up anywhere. There are several requests made by the foundation to the Director of RVTH and the Minister of Health for consultation, but this has led to nothing. There is now a (fire) letter to the vice president, explaining the current situation in the psychiatric hospital, but also an urgent request for help, lack ao medication, visits by psychiatrists to patients in Tanka Tanka, wood to on cooking and delivering food at Tanka Tanka.

It’s wait and see if there is a reaction and how quickly. One thing I’ve learned at least here in the Gambia and that have a lot of patience. During my stay I also visited the home of the Mara Boet in Busura. Stayed here 18 psychiatric patients and treated by the Mara Must (medicine man). The treatment consists of drinking “holey” water where the patient must wash it, it contains rolls of grass with healing powers, but also smelled of burned leaves is streamed over the patient and must ensure that the patients of their ailments come off. That is the purpose of this healing and most Gambians firmly believe in the healing powers of the marabout. Quite distressing to see that all these patients sit in small dark spaces, chained with a chain around their leg.
So these people are sometimes weeks, sometimes months or longer ……..

I realize that in Tanka Tanka is much different and better (where incidentally very hard and worked on by many people), but the treatment at the Mara Boet contrasts sharply with that of the psychiatric hospital Tanka Tanka. This was confirmed when the next day I went back to work in Tanka Tanka and I saw the patients roam freely, some made music and was played soccer. A progress is that the nurses take more time for personal attention to patients. I saw a patient sitting on the ground while a nurse was at her hair braiding, meanwhile told the patient about her fears that she and her family so missed.

Again it was a coming and going of problems, but fortunately nice developments. Reason enough to go back again.
Finally I would like to add something important and that is that I have great admiration for Anna. I already know that they will find nothing to make this so publicly this, but that’s too bad for this one time. For much of the year they stay in Gambia and is working daily with all kinds of activities for Tanka Tanka. Even she has not given up after many setbacks and disappointments, and she knows how to enthuse the people and to address the problems. This can really only if you have a really big heart! Chapeau Anna for everything you’ve done and still doing in a poor country like Gambia, for those people who are often left to their own devices, are ostracized or mistreated, you’ve made a difference to the mental hospital Tanka Tanka.

Mireille