Medical blog alert!!
I was asked to attend UNICEF’s forum on Prevention of Family Separation this week. Essentially it was a meeting to discuss issues of child protection in Myanmar, specifically how to tackle the problem of reliance on institutional care. Apparently 73% of children in orphanages here have parent/s. One concern is that the increasing number of tourists here may fuel more institutions, when really family based care is the ideal. I’ve never had a desire to gawp at an orphanage but apparently people do and thus donate money when they visit. Some institutions may purposely sustain poor conditions to encourage donations. There’s also a darker side to the unregulated foreign ‘volunteers’ helping at these places. On the positive side, policy is being drafted and a Child Protection policy.
The next day I attended the National HIV/Hep C meeting. Unfortunately there weren’t translators this time so I had to guess a lot at what was going on. Co-infection rates are comparable with the global average. Two big problems are (1) the hepatitis c viral load test is expensive and thus doesn’t get done here – so you don’t know if they’ve truly got chronic infection or not (2) the cost of treatment – a year’s worth costs $10,000 and it’s very unlikely a patient can afford this, plus all the added tests and supportive treatments that go along with it. MSF have funding to start some of the newer treatments here next year, but the guidance for who gets it is yet to be finalised.
This weekend continued in a medical theme. Ned got called on the international clinic phone to see a patient, which was okay as we happened to be just near to the hospital at the ‘Pink Choice’ photo exhibition (award winning exhibition of same sex couples in Vietnam). Fortunately the patient was ok, but it delayed us slightly in getting to Ned’s rugby match at Pun Hlaing (it’s across the river, the bridge across which is single lane, traffic usually pretty slow). As it turns out, at least we got there at all. The match was a friendly within the team, Europe vs Rest of the World, to celebrate someone’s birthday. After half time, events turned. The action was at the far end of the pitch from the spectators, when a couple of guys came running over shouting ‘call an ambo!’ and ‘car!’. The next thing I heard was ‘Ned!’ being shouted. I was scared and began to run over. This sounds awful but I was initially relieved to find out Ned was not hurt. One of the players had been tackled and fallen awkwardly and his tib and fib were no longer aligned with his foot which quickly became cold and pulse less! Fortunately Ned was near him (and before you ask he wasn’t the tackler, they were on the same side!) and bounced into action and I helped ‘do traction’ (?! Remember this is far out of my area of expertise) so he could relocate the joint… Blood supply returned. Poor guy did really well with no analgesia. He was then carefully lifted into a car and went to a hospital in the city. He’s going to had it operated on this morning.
After that it was a little hard to continue but they finished after an interlude (Europe won). There was an amazing barbecue with actual proper sausages (as opposed to frankfurter style) and baguettes from Sharky’s… But my appetite was a little reduced.
Next week is the Yangon Dragons biggest match against the Rhinos. Hopefully they’ve had their share of bad luck with injuries now…
One more week here then we have our visa run to Bangkok. Making us a little sad that we are half way through…
NB apologies if there are photo doubles. Internet issues (as ever)