HGH has certainly seen some activity this week. The eye team arrived from Honiara and Gizo to restore sight to the people of the villages with cataract surgery in our operating theatre. Monday was spent screening those who came and over 50 operations were performed. On Tuesday, their remit widened as they operated on a torn Achilles tendon in a 9year old, whilst I gave her ketamine to make her sleep. Her irate little sister had thrown a bush knife in a temper and managed to completely sever the tendon. She is now recovering with her foot immobilized in plaster. On Wednesday morning, a local 13 year old fell from a tree and was carried in unconscious and bleeding from his ear. Fortunately he is recovering, though still drowsy and irritable.
The weather has remained wet, dull and windy, keeping temperatures amazingly comfortable and the sea wonderfully refreshing when I manage to escape for a late afternoon swim.
We have seen a bit more action at the hospital this week. 2 deaths, one in a child and another in a young adult was a bad start, Both from different places came in unconscious and fitting after several hours. The child had a high fever and cellulitis of it’s leg; the adult, a weeks history of diarrhoea. Sadly we were unable to save them.
A women , who failed to progress in labour, had to be transferred to Gizo by canoe and had an emergency C. Section. I have done my first lot of stitching again; a child with a facial injury after falling on some timber, was very nasty, but so far she is recovering well. An assault victim with a broken jaw went to Honiara for wiring and a 1kg preterm baby is just holding her own at 5 days with support.
The nurses continue to do a fantastic job, so it is good to be here to support them. I value your prayers as we work together.
My first full week has passed with a public holiday on Friday for the Queen’s birthday. The weather has been very kind to me with lots of cloud, wind and rain, so it has not been too hot to wash the walls in the house to keep them mould free. There is a surprising lack of insects, perhaps the empty house and lack of food. I have been well looked after by the Bible translator couple, Jim getting my bike road worthy again and Carolyn feeding me and getting some shopping.
The hospital has been generally quiet, with no infectious epidemics at present, so there has been time to meet people and we had the first management meeting for 4 months. It was a joy to see everyone engaged with a contribution to make. The main priority at present is to find a replacement for Soraya, the hospital secretary, who is moving to Gizo
It is really lovely to be back in Munda. I have received a warm welcome from everyone I meet. After 6 months with no doctor in residence, they are just relieved to have help. The staff of H.G.H. have, however, done a brilliant job in my absence, the Director of Nursing, Andrew, stepping in to the Medical Superintendent role and leading the ward rounds. It was a challenge after many years in nursing administration. Our very competent midwife, Irene, looked after maternity. I praise God for what they have done. At Andrew’s request, I will relieve him of the clinical work, so he can have some rest and catch up on his other duties.
Without Dr Graham for now, who usually does all the IT and communication, I will do my best to keep in touch.
We are sitting in Manchester Airport waiting for Jenny’s flight to return to Helena Goldie Hospital after six months at home. Sadly the hospital has been without a resident doctor since we left at the end of November. Fortunately the Methodist Church in Britain has agreed to send us back as short-term mission partners to help out. Jenny is going ahead and Graham will follow in early August. It is with some apprehension that we return, but we have felt encouraged by the support and prayer at the Methodist for World Mission conference which was held at Swanwick this weekend. This year it was entitled Voice still small? and focused on the Pacific region. We led one of the eight workshops, giving information on the situation in the Solomon Islands and the work that we have done at the hospital & college of nursing there. Issues of climate change impact were explored as well as the sharing of stories from different Pacific nations. We look forward to renewing old friendships and serving the people of the West Province again.