January 4, Monday
A challenging day today. Our first outing was to Johannesburg Hospital, a 1200-bed tertiary facility in the heart of Joburg. There is a nation-wide strike by civil servants (this includes nurses and teachers) that started last Friday. Because of this the working nurses were wearing street clothes and there were fewer patients than usual. A news story in the evening paper talked about a shooting that left two dead and several injured. One ambulance had to drive for three hours until it could find a hospital that would take one of the injured.
We divided into four groups for the hospital tour. I was in the pediatric group and we visited the pedi ER, and three outpatient units: the child development unit (they treat developmentally delayed children), the dialysis unit, and the day hospital for children with cancer. The most prevalent cancer here is leukemia and they treat it the same way we do. The kids have implanted ports, they get propofol and vapors for the LP with chemo. We saw children getting peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis for renal failure.
In the afternoon we went to a Muti market. This is where traditional healing items are sold. There were skins, pelts, hides, roots, barks, other plants and a few unnamed animal body parts. It was a good way to gain an understanding about the beliefs and practices of the people that we serve.
I got in some souvenir shopping at the African Craft Market and bought a delicious chicken pot pie for dinner.
Early day tomorrow. We are having tea with medical students at the local university then going on tour of Soweto Township and orphanages in the area.