Living with False Security
by Dr. Meggie Hickson, pediatrician and MedSend grant recipient, serving in Tanzania
Here in Kigoma, everyone is living with a false sense of security at the moment, and, overall, most are going about their lives as normal. There are handwashing stations set up around town, but few people actually use them, especially because there’s often no soap and/or water. At first, a few people were wearing masks or gloves, but now that’s a rare sighting even in the hospital, despite attempts to urge hospital workers to wear them properly. The markets are packed, the churches are carrying on, and life is mostly just going on as normal. Needless to say, if it does hit here (if it hasn’t already), it’s going to hit hard. There are only 24 reported cases in Tanzania and 1 death, all of which are far from us. However, for multiple reasons, I seriously doubt the numbers.
At this point, we only have oxygen concentrators, and I can put together a bubble CPAP for kids with a 02 concentrator, water bottle, earplugs, nasal cannula, and some extra tubing from an IV giving set. Nothing fancy like ventilators, and we have to send any samples for testing all the way across the country. But we’ve got more good equipment than any other hospital in the area.
It’s normal for almost every kid here to have viral URI symptoms all year round, so it’s pretty much impossible to know if any of them have coronavirus, since kids generally have mild to no symptoms. At this point, we have no known cases here.
Before things got crazy, though, we were able to have a Baptism service for many new believers here. Two of the moms of my malnutrition patients were baptized which was wonderful to see!
Praise God for the work He continues to do despite the craziness.
Editor’s Note: This post was a part of Dr. Hickson’s April 8 update. At the time of this posting, the number of Coronavirus cases in Tanzania stands at 254.
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