BEIT CURE HOSPITAL
Today we had the privilege of visiting Beit Cure nonprofit hospital. After a tour of the beautiful facilities, we split into rotations to help in the kitchen, interact with patients in the children’s ward, and observe appointments in ENT, Audiology, and physiotherapy. I began my day observing ENT appointments which turned out to be an amazing experience.
Dr. Uta allowed me to take part in her exanimation of the ears and did a wonderful job explaining the differences of care in Zambia compared to America and Europe. I got to see examples of very interesting cases that included outer and middle ear problems. They were so interesting to me because these cases were more severe or advanced than any example I have seen at home. Many conditions they see that cause hearing loss are preventable and treatable; however, many people do not know what resources are available to them because healthcare treatment can be so limited, especially when they cannot afford to pay. So by the time the patient is seen by a doctor, the condition has grown to be much worse than when it would be identified and treated in a country where healthcare is more readily available.
Government funding and private donations allow Beit Cure to function and provide healthcare to those who cannot afford to pay; however, they also see private patients who can pay for treatment. This system starkly contrasts hospitals I have experience with at home in America. After observing Dr. Uta work with patients for an hour or so, I gained exposure to patients of a range of ages and economic status and the level of care did not change from one patient to the next. Dr. Uta explained how this system ensures that there is no preferential treatment toward those who can afford treatment over those who cannot pay anything toward treatment. I found this to be a great way to approach treatment, especially in a society where so many people who need treatment cannot afford to pay for it.
After observing ENT, I walked over to join Katelyn and spend time in the children’s ward until lunchtime. This building is full of children recovering from or preparing for treatment for various ailments including hydrocephalus, club foot, and spina-bifida. Some children were alone in their beds while others had their mothers, fathers, and/or siblings with them. However, every child welcomed our offer to play with them. I learned that no matter how uncomfortable or tired a child may seem, you can likely bring a smile to their face with some bubbles. After hours of blowing bubbles, bouncing balls, reading books, and laughing,
it was time to join the rest of the group for lunch.
Turkey, nshima, and cabbage lunch was served by the kitchen staff along with Katie and Gabby who had helped prepare today’s meal. After eating our delicious lunches in the sun, we headed toward the main building to give a presentation on speech and language development as it relates to hearing loss. This presentation was given to the audio techs training to work in audiology at Beit Cure. My group and I were delighted with how much the audio tech students appreciated our presentation. They had many questions and were able to understand how this new information will help them when working with children who have hearing loss. It felt amazing to have the knowledge base to answer their questions with confidence and I am proud to have been able to do my part in the presentation. Next week, we will get to visit Beit Cure two more times and I cannot wait to continue my rotations in Audiology, physiotherapy, as well as helping in the kitchen. It was a joy to meet the staff today and I look forward to learning even more from them next week!