Friday, October 19, 2007

Into Africa... Part 2- Destination Zanzibar

After a quick (20 minutes!) flight to Zanzibar, we were loaded onto a dala-dala (the traditional local transport) and went to tour the historic slave market.

Our dala-dala awaits!

Zanzibar was the main point of export for the Arab slave trade. Included in the slave market tour is a descent down into the actual holding cells used to imprison slaves before they were auctioned. While sitting in the cramped cell, we were reminded how terrible the conditions were- beyond what I could even imagine...

The slave monument was created using original chains from the slave market.

Next door to the slave market, was a nursery school. I cannot tell you what a contrast it was to just stand and watch the happy children playing after the tour.

School children washing their dishes after a snack of uji (porridge).

After lunch we went visit at the local government run orphanage where we brought new shoes for all the children. Then we were off to the church to set up the malaria clinic. We used the new school building that is under construction as well as the church building itself. After spending the afternoon figuring out the clinic flow and general logistics we went to check in at our hotel.

I managed to get 6 hours sleep that night and we were up early the next morning. After breakfast at the hotel, we drove to the church where mothers were already lined up with their children to receive the mosquito nets that were going to be given away.

The basic clinic flow went like this-

Registration- Mothers, children 5 and under, and pregnant women were registered for the clinic (as per government guidelines). During the registration process the women and children were screened for malaria symptoms (high fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms). Anyone with symptoms had DR written on their paperwork, so that they would see the doctor before leaving with their net.

Education- After registration, they came to the class (teaching this class was my job). In the class they learned how to reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes, why and how to use the mosquito net, and how to recognize malaria symptoms and the importance of seeking prompt treatment.

Diagnosis- After attending the class, those with a DR on their paperwork saw the on-site doctor. Malaria is diagnosed by taking a blood sample and viewing it under a microscope- the parasite is visible under magnification. The doctors and nurses also treated children for various maladies such as worms, as well as doing well baby checks.

Nets- After seeing the doctor (or directly after the class, if a doctor visit was not required), the women went to pick up their net. One net was issued per family (mothers and children sleep together) and a large "N" was put on each woman's forearm with a permanent marker to prevent anyone from returning for a second net.

In spite of the non-religious nature of the clinic itself, we were met with opposition from the local, non-Christian religious leaders (Zanzibar is about 98% non-christian) who accused us of doing malaria clinics only as an attempt to convert their women and children. Simply holding the clinic on church property was viewed as a real threat to these leaders' hold on their followers.

Coming tomorrow- an attempt to shut the clinic down...


Llama Momma said...

Wait, I'm confused. The CHURCH wanted to shut you down? They didn't want a malaria clinic on their property? Now that is just plain strange.

Frazzmom said...

Sorry if that last paragraph is confusing. I am being purposely vague to protect the locals that we were working with. We were met with opposition by non-christian religous leaders descended from Hagar's offspring (you read between the lines).

Llama Momma said...

got it.