One of our desires in working here at Kalukembe hospital is to assist with ongoing learning opportunities for the staff. Access to materials is always poor for our colleagues, and so having the pleasure to host an expert such as Dr. Ken Foster is just that–a real pleasure. This weekend, Dr. Foster taught through discussion, lecture, demonstration and hands-on practicum a group of 20 nurse clinicians. His emphasis was on management of hand and bone injuries and illnesses, rooted in good fundamentals of care. As has happened in previous seminars, he challenged “standard” practice and introduced improved ways of thinking about and managing injuries and infections. Because of his past connection with Kalukembe (visited as a medical student in the 80’s and then worked as a surgeon for a couple years in the 90’s), his visit was even more profound to all of us.
As much as the technical learning for the nurses encouraged us, I was even more encouraged by Dr. Foster’s very approachable nature and his openness to share his experiences from other places with us. He has served for years in Afghanistan, and it especially struck a couple of nurses as we sat around after lunch yesterday that there are other places in the world that suffer deeply. It brought the suffering in our context into perspective–that there are others who suffer too: thieving governments, lack of materials, poverty, iatrogenic damages that leave patients worse off than where they began with their sicknesses.
Priscila also lectured about vesicovaginal fistulas, with good feedback about sharing more about this common condition in public gatherings. I hope and pray some will take initiative to do this and that we can help them with basic materials (like a kamishibai-style presentation, perhaps).