June 28

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Let’s give access to healthcare products in rural areas!

Having another day of work at Live Well…well, it starts with the warehouse, or storeroom (should be the most appropriate word) where I discovered how the team receives the products, classifies them, registers them… I helped my new colleague Isaac in filling out the Stock Demand Forms, the Good Receipt Notes and so on. Then, the sales team came and gave its list of needed items for their upcoming selling day. We prepared baskets of varied range of healthcare products from cook stove, toothpaste, toothbrush, headache release tablets to condoms, pregnancy tests and so on. Once, we were ready with the products, let’s put them in the 4×4 trunk and just drive towards rural areas.

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After quite a long drive, we finally got into those very rural areas made of dusty roads, mud huts, chickens running around, barefoot children… 72 tribes live in Zambia. The region we arrived in is made of 27 villages. We stopped at a first clinic. Do not expect a clinic with the developed countries standards: this is simply a very old building with crappy finishes. It was quite chocking looking at these young teenage girls aged probably 12 to maximum 14 years, bearing all their babies on their back. They were all waiting all day long in front of the clinic in order to get their children vaccinated. No young girl without a baby, that’s probably the rule! When we visited the clinic, one was staying in a room next to us and we could hear that she was just giving birth.. Then, she just got out from the clinic and returned home with her baby in her arms. This is just normal here to have so many babies.

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People are not really staying at the clinic: they just wait for a screening control, get their drugs or vaccinations and then just go home. Even to give birth, it does not last long and do not imagine the mother staying under observation one night, this is probably just in case of extreme emergency situation.

Just to give you a flavor of how beds look like…

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Then, there is an archiving room full of patient files, which is made of second-hand notebooks in which the nurse notes patient information such as weight, age, vaccinaction, tuberculosis tests… There is no doctor in these rural areas, nurses perform the job, and usually they learn basic healthcare gesture on-the-job. Indeed, when doctors got graduated in Zambia, they prefer to stay in the Capital in more urban areas rather than going and living in rural villages. However, from what I understood the government is pushing young doctors to practice at least 2 years in rural areas before deciding moving back to urban areas.

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The nurse are controlling the children weight curve in order to control if they are healthy. If not, they implement nutrition plan with nutritional food.

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And then, our team of Live Well is selling healthcare products to the Community Healthcare Entrepreneurs who will also sell by themselves products to all villages around.

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