Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Food for Thought

We are currently winding our way from south to north along Lake Kivu. The road is "not serious" as our translator calls it. This means that it is bumpy, muddy, and otherwise just plain silly. We bump along from one hospital to the next and spend between 2-6 hours in the car each day. So there is time to puzzle over the things we see.

This is my current event I am pondering.

At one hospital, we saw a set of equipment in an operating room that the staff told us was only used when the mzungus, in this case Italians, came twice a year to perform surgeries. But other than that, the current staff had no idea how to use the equipment and just left it alone when the visitors were not there.

My immediate reaction was that this was not sustainable, and that the visiting doctors should have trained the staff on this equipment.

We asked the director of the hospital about these visits and asked why this training wasn't happening, knowing that the director must have thought this through already. He told us it was because if the local doctors were trained on this special equipment, they would surely leave this hospital in the middle of nowhere and get a job in a more urban area, or even out of the country.

That is what happened to the first three doctors that were trained on the equipment. So the training was ended, as it was hard enough to find doctors willing to serve this district hospital.

So what do you do about that? In terms of sustainability? Training? Brain drain? Human resources?

Its a puzzler.

Also puzzled? This guy. What is that crazy animal taking my picture? 

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