Pacific Angel welcomed a new Project HOPE volunteer medical staff member today. Denise Barnes has been a Certified Nurse-Midwife for eight years and joins the team from her current home in Jakarta, Indonesia. She’s excited to be back on Sumatra after prior work in Banda Aceh on the northern tip of the island.
Activities in the clinic began far smoother on this second day, mainly due to improvements learned from the day before. Three new temporary roofs provided more shade and comfort for the hundreds of waiting patients outside. A group of additional interpreters inside assisted the multi-cultural medical staff in providing care more effectively. The medical personnel from Singapore, Bangladesh, Timor Leste and the United States rely on their Indonesian counterparts to communicate.
A grand total of 473 patients were treated today.
The most active areas of the tent clinic continue to be those dedicated to dental care and optometry. The Air Force’s dental team had another busy day of pulling dozens of teeth and providing oral hygiene advice. The optometrist was in such high demand that her assistant started seeing patients so that they could work together passing out free pairs of glasses for near and far-sighted individuals. By the end of the day, one of the general medicine wings of the clinic was transformed into an optometry ward. Even then, patients were so numerous that about seventy of them were told that they would have to return tomorrow because there wasn’t enough time today to see them all.
The women’s health wing saw less business, partially because school was back in session, but also probably due to reluctance for exams considered invasive. Women of the Muslim faith in Indonesia and elsewhere tend to be very shy and private about exposing any skin to strangers, even in a safe, medical setting. Noreen Prokuski and Denise had the opportunity to work with a few pregnant women and listen for fetal heartbeats. Susan Opas worked all over the clinic assisting with everything from pediatrics to the pharmacy, always smiling and laughing.
“I was delighted to see our group come together, Project HOPE with our trusty interpreters, and became an active part of PAC ANGEL,” says Opas.
Everyone is hoping for another busy day tomorrow, day three of the six that the clinic will be open.
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