Our final weekend here in Munda has arrived suddenly. For the month of August we have been joined by two medical students, Laura and Jerry, who have been excellent, enjoying hospital life as well as snorkelling and a dive today.
Work has been varied as usual with its ups and downs: the nurses are preparing themselves to take over again with no prospect of a doctor soon. The accountant is now also acting hospital secretary and the director of nursing is the acting medical superintendent. There has been a lot of activity to try to get the agreement signed with the ministry and on Monday they will meet with local companies to try to establish a fund to support doctors that might be willing to come to the hospital from overseas.
On Thursday evening we enjoyed a farewell dinner that we missed last December as a result of our sudden departure in November. It was a feast preceded by a short devotion and followed by some entertainment from the students at the college of nursing. We leave for Fiji on Tuesday to meet up with the other Methodist mission partners that are currently posted in the Pacific.
After the wet and windy weather associated with the cyclone, we have now experienced 3 weeks without rain, resulting in empty rain-water tanks around the hospital and the local community. The market has not recovered so there is a relative shortage of fruit and vegetables, especially bananas and paw-paws. Medically we have had to transfer 2 patients by aeroplane to Honiara, one of these, a 3 day old baby with bowel obstruction went this morning.
Graham went to Gizo on Monday and met with Soraya, who is now very busy in her new position as hospital secretary there. He has been busy preparing for the Board meeting which took place yesterday (Thursday): the first meeting of the year. Unfortunately he has been put out of action by an attack from 3 of the wild dogs which roam the hospital compound. Hopefully he will make a speedy recovery.
Graham arrived in Munda on Wednesday. Soraya, the hospital secretary, left on Monday to take up her new post at Gizo Hospital, creating a big gap here at Helena Goldie Hospital. As yet there is no suitable replacement for her. The internet continues to cause everyone much frustration but happily Graham will now be able to relieve me of that task, trying to communicate with the outside world when we can catch a moment of signal.
We have had a rather tragic time recently with 3 deaths in young women with family. One was in end-stage rheumatic heart disease where life-saving heart surgery is out of reach of most people here. The two other deaths were caused by delayed presentation to the clinics: one lady arrived unconscious and had been fitting for the week prior to her arrival here. The other with advanced Tuberculosis arrived yesterday from Seghe after a 6 hour journey on rough seas. The canoe diverted here on its way to Gizo Hospital as she was increasingly breathless. She slipped away a few hours later. Both families had put their trust in Kustom medicine, only presenting when it was clearly failing to work, but sadly too late for us also.