A near maternal death has dominated our efforts this week but thanks to the skill of our mid-wife Irene and the assistance of Dr Eric Pana together with the students of the nursing college who turned out in force to give blood. The crisis was averted: mother and baby have survived. Bleeding during labour and delivery with no facilities to do a caesarian section puts the lives of mothers and babies at risk. We were preparing to transfer the patient to Gizo Hospital but managed instead a Kiwi cup extraction but the bleeding continued. It was Irene holding it together, working through three shifts before escaping to get some sleep. Maternity ward has been full, so it was also important to keep up the routine work and make sure that the others were not neglected.
We are still seeing a number of cases of diarrhoea & vomiting as well as measles which we are trying to manage in the community.
After all the visitors of the last few weeks, it is quite a relief to have a quiet spell allowing Jenny to take a much-needed Sunday afternoon sleep in the currently empty Robina House, which remains cool until mid-afternoon. Although not busy as with the large numbers of patients seen during the epidemic in May & June, gastro-enteritis remains a problem, bringing dehydrated and sometimes fitting children to us. In addition, we now have a nationwide Measles epidemic which has caused Honiara to scale down routine medical services. A four month old boy that was discharged recently died a week later and his cousin of the same age is currently on the ward fighting for his life.
A tiny pre-term baby that we had nursed through its early weeks was doing well, but returned to the hospital this week having stopped breathing and needed resuscitation. He continues to have episodes of choking, so he is being observed closely. Fortunately we now have many very competent nurses who are able to insert the life-saving cannulas.
Maternity ward remains busy with the growing population of the Solomon Islands, many people still holding kustom or religious beliefs about family planning. The out-patient department has been keeping Graham busy, assisted on some days by Dr Eric Pana. Jenny has spent some time with him in the operating theatre. All this is manageable if we are able to sleep at night, but there are inevitable interruptions as happened last night when a lady in her 70’s was admitted in severe heart failure after a heart attack.
Please pray that we will continue to have the strength and energy needed in this situation.
After many weeks of preparation, the 10th General Assembly of the United Church of the Solomon Islands started on Saturday (4th) in the small village of Pienuna on Ranonga Island south west of Gizo. Graham was invited to represent the hospital, so he left early on Monday morning with the hospital accountant (John Sasabule), travelling to Gizo on the Rava. The church canoe came to Gizo on Tuesday for the crossing to Ranonga. The hospital & college of nursing presentation was arranged for Tuesday evening, so it was quite a long day. The future of the hospital was discussed, with particular reference to the provision of medical officers.
Bronwyn Fraser arrived in Pienuna the following morning, having travelled from Sydney. She represents the Australian Uniting Church and was invited to give a presentation on the proposal for a strategic plan for the United Church. On Thursday Graham and Bronwyn returned to Helena Goldie by canoe and found Jenny working with Eric Pana. He was previously a general surgeon in Honiara but now lives in Australia. He has come to see his family and also to work at the hospital for a month. We are grateful for his help.