East Africa Aid Foundation

Our mission is to provide an opportunity, a helping hand, for those who have little-to-none to live by and learn with. We are a not-for-profit organization founded to assist with the collection of charitable donations from interested parties, multinational corporations, and healthcare organizations to fund educational & healthcare projects in multiple locations in the East Africa region.
Jul 14, 2014

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 23)

The past two weeks in Bagamoyo I continued working with volunteer Kirstine. I got flu for few days but luckily it was not serious illness. We had a great success at World HIV Day and continued home-based care with our old and some new patients.

Kirstine created patient record system with Excel program to record all the people who come for testing at the office. She also collected all history of CD4 counts from our home-based care patients and we weighed most patients with new scales we purchased (some of the immobile patients we were not able to weigh). From the information she created a graph so we can see and monitor the progress of our patients. This is something that was planned long time ago but it was Kirstine finally who followed it through and she made a great success.

World HIV Day 1st of December was a great success too. Godfrey came from Dar to help us and together with Charles set up a spot to the middle of the bus station and test people for HIV. Chanzi also gave a hand with setting up posters and we had lots of stickers and red ribbons that were donated from UK based HIV Charity through Debbie; our faithful sponsor and volunteer from the UK. 54 people, young and old were tested on that day! One older man tested positive and was referred to CTC at the hospital for a follow up and more counselling. He had a strange reaction to his results; he was happy and said ‘It is OK because now there is good treatment for it.

Couple of weeks ago Kirstine organized to have testing for pre- school children at our UKUN/PHI office. Two groups of 10 came in two different days. No one was found positive. This was a great idea and something we should expand to the other schools at Bagamoyo too.

Update of patients:

Patient G from Morogoro family:

We have been visiting patient G weekly and every time we see him he looks healthier and he is getting stronger. He had his hospital appointment for refill of ARV medication. He still reports dizziness and doctors told him he has a low blood pressure. We have been checking it ever since and it is within normal range. Otherwise he has no other problems. He has gained even more weight and his mobility is almost back to normal. I gave him multivitamins for a month and we give him porridge and fruit every week. He is missing his family greatly but soon he will be fully recovered and go back home to his wife and baby boy Michael. Hospital still has not received results for HIV test from the little boy Michael. This sample was taken about two months ago now and sent to Muhimbili Dar Es Salaam. I wonder if we will ever get them. I will attend his next hospital appointment with him on New Year ’s Eve.

Patient Z and her daughter Hadija we visited both weeks but found that they were not home. Apparently Hadija works now near the beach every day and her mother Patient Z had gone to the farm. Last time we saw them was a month ago and luckily Patient Z had recovered from her stomach ulcers and had got back her mobility. We are not concerned and they have our number if they need us.

Patient A & Patient H - Tanga family

We visited Amina and her brother H to talk and help about plan for future and getting out of poverty. Their health is stable now and patient A continues her physiotherapy with exercises and walks with her frame. Hamisi has fully recovered from his operation and we helped to restart his cigarette business few weeks ago. Now he reports that is going OK. Patient A had been keen for a long time to sell something too outside her house and we supported her with bagging and selling bags of charcoal. A big bag of charcoal to start the business with cost £12. If this business works out well for her we will increase the business and add firewood too to sell. Due to her mobility she can only sit down (and walk short distances with a frame) so selling things outside works well for her. They are both very grateful of our support and we will review them next week.

 

Patient MP:

Patient MP, our palliative care patient was supposed to have her monthly hospital appointment on the 6th of December but family did not want to take her that day. This has been continuous problem the whole year. We visited them with Kirstine later that afternoon to assess her condition only to find her in a very ill health. Patient MP appeared to have had lost weight again after last hospital admission (she had Meningitis), which was last month. Family reported that she is only eating very small amounts and not taking medication. In my opinion she looked like she did not have many days left in this world. Family said they did not want to take her to the hospital again for feeding with nasogastric tube. I understood their decision and said it was up to them. She has been on this stage of ‘suffering’ for many years now (stage 4 AIDS). Her eyes looked almost black and had no ‘life’ in them. She was not responding to voice or pain. I held her hand and wished that she would feel no suffering. She did not look agitated or uncomfortable. Family had already spoken to Patient MP's sister Mama Kizenga and she had told them that patient MP has suffered for too long. Her daughter asked me why is she like this and if she will die now. I told them I think patient MP is tired of life. I told them to call me if they get any worries. We went back few days later and MP looked a little better again. She did not look like she was in any pain or was uncomfortable. She had little temperature so we gave her liquid Paracetamol, which she swallowed. That day her daughter told me that she had had porridge and juice. We will visit every few days to assess her comfortability. I feel really sad as I have grown very close to her this year but I know that she has almost no quality of life. The smiles have now gone.

 

Patient ZM Ramadhani and her children:

This frail 29 year old lady called Zena came to our office few weeks ago with her three children. Patient ZM and Ramadhani Dotto her eldest son of 8 years are HIV positive. They had not been taken medications ARVs because of lack of support and nutrition. Now the hospital gave them to restart again. The family fled from their home a week ago due to stigma. Now they stay in another small house with two rooms.

We went for a home visit last Friday to assess their needs. Patient ZM is very malnourished, 35kg only. She has been coughing blood, has diarrhoea, stomach pain and has ulcers in her mouth. She was dehydrated, her blood pressure was low 90/70, heart rate 120bpm and temperature 38 degrees. She was also breathless. Two weeks ago she went to Bagamoyo Hospital for a TB sputum test and they gave her medicines for her mouth. Now she went to get her result but they could not find them. We gave her Paracetamol and promised to go to the hospital to find her results. Her last CD4 count was done one year ago and it was high 1291. Ten months before that it was only 195. It must be very low now too. She really needs a new one done. Her son’s last CD4 count was done one year ago too and it was 1282. They have both attended their monthly hospital appointments regularly but why has the CD4 not been checked. This is a big failure from the hospital. They both have their next clinic appointment at New Year’s Eve 31/12/2013 and I will make sure to go with them to get it done.

One of the children at their house was lying on the floor holding his stomach and saying he was hungry. All the children appeared small but not as malnourished as their mother Zena. We gave them 1kg of porridge and sugar and told the little boy to get up and start cooking it. He started to make a fire inside the room with firewood and washed a pan for cooking. They do not have a local cooker even. One of the children asked for a bicycle. They have no food but of course those things can seem more important to a child. They have no money or income. They were waiting for Zena’s mother to return in the evening to bring food and cook for them. On Sunday I went back with Chanzi and took lots of foods for them; bananas, rice, potatoes, vegetables and drinking water. First thing we need to do on Monday is to find her TB results so she can start a treatment if it comes back positive.

 

New Patient JJ:

We got our first referral from CTC with our referral forms we created. This was Patient JJ, 56 year old lady who is HIV positive. She was referred to us for physiotherapy and transport to hospital. Charles from our office said he knows her and this lady apparently cries a lot.

I went for a home visit with Kirstine last Friday morning. A local lady who is taking care of her took us there. Shew told us that JJ's family had abandoned her so she was alone otherwise. We found her lying on the floor and she started to cry when we came. She was not able to walk and had lost her mobility about one year ago. She was able to speak a little through her tears and said her legs were painful. She seemed anxious too.

We checked her physiological observations and her blood pressure was high 170/120. I checked her other arm and it was even higher 170/130. Her pulse was 120bpm and respiration 28bpm. She had no temperature. She had been to the hospital last September (2.5 months ago) but they had not checked her blood pressure. She was not on ARV medication; in fact the only medication she had was Vitamin B tablets. Her CD4 count was done September too and was 451. We decided to take her to the hospital to see a doctor for her blood pressure. We had to carry her into the bajaji (three wheeled small car) and she was not light! Once we arrived at the hospital and got through to the doctor he did not seem happy because it was not her ‘appointment date’. I explained about her blood pressure and he asked me to check again there at the hospital. It was still high. Doctor asked questions about her history and started to be helpful. She was started on two different blood pressure tablets, Diazepam for anxiety and Diclofenac for pain. Doctor told me to go to check her blood pressure the next day. We took her home and explained about her medications. I went back next day and her blood pressure had dropped to 140/80.

She appeared tired but that was possibly due to having been started on Diazepam the night before. I omitted one of the blood pressure medications as the doctor had advised and she continued with the other. We will monitor her every few days at first. When her blood pressure becomes stable we can assess her mobility and possibly start physiotherapy.

 

Next week we will be busy with new patients and luckily we have a new volunteer Bjarne to join us. He is a student nurse from Sweden and will be with us for ten days. Kirstine has another two weeks left with us. It will be my first Christmas here in Tanzania in two weeks time and I am looking forward to it!

Jun 30, 2014

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 22)

 The past two weeks at Bagamoyo we had a great team of 4 volunteers. I was away the first week in Zanzibar but Debbie, Godfrey, Kirstine and Charles took good care of the patients. We continued home-based care, did regular visits to Mariam at the hospital, did testing at the office and put out posters to promote our office HIV testing. Unfortunately we were sad to see Debbie and Godfrey to go last week as they were such a great asset to us but they have both promised to come back soon. We were fortunate though to receive help and medical supplies from Kirstine’s boyfriend who is visiting here. He is a doctor specialized in surgery and will give us plenty of teachings on medical assessments!

 

Patient MP:

MP was put on a drip at home for couple of days but we knew it was not enough as she was not swallowing any medicines at all. Her diarrhoea continued. We obtained a blood sample from MP and took it to the clinic to check malaria and it came back negative. Finally the next day Mariam’s family agreed to take her to the hospital for feeding. I was relieved as I was going on a trip to Zanzibar the next day. She was put on Sodium Lactate drip (that was almost impossible to get from Bagamoyo, luckily found one in our office!) and they discovered that she had meningitis. They treated her with IV Fluconazole for few days. She had nasogastric tube inserted and was fed porridge and medicines through it as she was unable to swallow for several days. After a week she was better and discharged home. Mariam appears just the same as she was before this illness. Peter Kirstine’s boyfriend assessed her on a home visit and also said there is not much we can do for her, only palliative care to keep her comfortable. We put on some new medicine dressing to her pressure sore and it appears to be healing. Debbie’s gift Sudacrem is also a great help for her. She appeared comfortable but we will get some small cushions to put between her limbs for pressure care. Mariam is able to swallow again but is eating only small amounts of porridge. She is refusing to drink ORS (oral rehydration salts). Family were grateful for all our support; we gave them more gloves, disinfectant and juice for Mariam.

 

Patient AB:

Unfortunately AB got sick at the office for couple of days. We all assumed that it was due to him missing out three day of his ARV medications! We told him off for not being compliant with ARVs and the consequences that can follow. We told him he is throwing away his opportunity to start the art school in January if he will not be well enough.

The second day evening we took him to the hospital to see a doctor and after some blood tests they discovered malaria. He was given medications for three days. He appears already better from it. He needs repeat medications for malaria this week and then next week to retest. Peter brought him a present from Denmark; a pillbox with weekdays written on it! We can keep proper check on his medications and it will be hard for him to miss again. He has understood how it works and is all motivated again to get himself healthy for GOIG School for January 2014 J

 

Patient CPT:

CPT continues to get our support for two showers a week, laundry, cleaning and exercise. Debbie and Kirstine took him for a walk on his wheelchair whilst I was in Zanzibar and he really enjoyed that! He received a new ‘mohican’ haircut and a shave from Godfrey and a new bucket that is easier to empty for his toilet chair. Peter assessed his mobility a little last week and told us to continue with the chair exercises. The exercise pole he said would be so great for him but after the family took the last one down we are hesitating to waste our time to build another one. Peter is not the first doctor to tell CPT that with some exercise and building more muscle to his thighs he could walk again. Peter also discovered that CPT has scrotal hernia, which Captain was aware of already but as he experiences no pain it should not be dangerous. CPT was showing of his big arm muscles as usual and his ‘pot’ belly but Peter told him his swollen stomach was not fat, just ‘air’ but his arm muscles are real at least.

  

New family :

A family that was known to UKUN/PHI office a long time ago came by the office last week. It was a mother with her three children. Her husband had died. Mother is HIV positive and her eldest son of eight years of age. Both of them are not taking medications (ARVs) due to lack of support and nutrition. The other two younger children fortunately tested negative. Mother appeared severely malnourished and weighed only 37kg. Debbie and Charles gave them some food at the office and we bought 1kg of porridge if they come back next day. The mother went to the hospital twice in two days but we never saw her again at the end of the second day. Therefore we do not know what the doctors had told her and if she was given any medications. We need to go for a home visit this week to assess their housing situation and assess all the family members’ needs for support.

We had a lovely ‘Thank you & see you later’ meal for Debbie and Godfrey at Poa Poa restaurant here at Bagamoyo. Both of them will be back soon to volunteer with us.

We have been doing a shoe and necklace campaign with two local artists; Chanzi and Zakaria to raise funds for our patients. Debbie has taken the order to Europe; 20 pairs of shoes and 11 necklaces. With this we managed raise over £100! We also received another £60 for Kathy’s cake sales from Plymouth! Great stuff!

This week there are no volunteers working with me but luckily none of our clients are critically ill this moment. Kirstine and Peter are coming back from their trip from Zanzibar at the weekend. Sunday this week, 1st December will be the ‘World HIV Day’. We are still finding out where it will be happening in Bagamoyo but certainly we will be joining in with testing, information, free condoms and red ribbons!

Jun 16, 2014

UKUN Volunteer Diary (Week 21)

The past two weeks with HIV project in Bagamoyo were busy with visiting patients and introducing new volunteers to our team. Volunteer David left our team and Charles was still away for another week.

Debbie, an ex- volunteer from UK came back to help us again; for the third time. She is staying three weeks this time and has been a great worker and fundraiser for couple of years now. She just keeps coming back! I have been lucky to have her living at my house and she has become a great friend to me. She loves helping people and brings great new ideas to our team. Another lovely volunteer joined us last week; Kirstine from Denmark. She is staying here for a whole two months! Kirstine came through Action Aid Denmark and stays with a local family with another Danish girl.

That is a great way to learn about the local culture and language here and to understand our patients’ life in Bagamoyo. She is also very keen and full of ideas. We completed our referral forms to UKUN/PHI and gave some to the hospital already. We have also designed a poster to raise awareness about our office HIV testing as the numbers have been down. This is also due to our ‘new’ location so we need to take action to make people more aware. Kirstine also has an idea to advertise in a local HIV magazine or some newspaper here and to paint a big red ribbon to outside on the office wall. Bot girls with Godfrey are also keen to do big promotion day at weekly TopTop market (Mondays) for a free testing. It was done once before few months back and we managed to test over 40 people that day! We have been busy visiting our home care patients and introducing them to our new volunteers with Godfrey.

Morogoro Family:

Newly diagnosed family from Morogoro had some changes for the past two weeks. Mother A left home with baby M to Morogoro for ‘few months’ and G and his 7year old son remained here to be looked after by Mama Ponda’s family.

Apparently there was not enough money to support the whole family in that household so the most sick stayed; father G. We visited him couple of times to give porridge and extra snacks and physiotherapy. He is still malnourished and feels dizzy occasionally but appears a little ‘healthier’. He is now able to mobilise quite long distances without his walker and seems happy in himself. He finally received his referral letter from Morogoro to be able to receive his ARVs here regularly. We will continue our support with him.

Patient HT & AM:

Patient HT and his sister AM appear both in good health. HT came back to Bagamoyo finally after fully recovering from his operation in Dar. We organized a little welcome party for him at his house with coffee and cakes! He received a nice new shirt from Debbie and looks like a new man! He restarted his cigarette business (not such a healthy thing but it was his income for a long time with a good profit before he got sick so he wanted to continue), which we supported with a little capital. AM is keen to start some business too which she could do from home and we are working on the idea. Unfortunately her mum who lives with them, lovely old lady of nearly 80 years got sick with flu but she is on her way to recovery. We gave her medicines for two weeks. Next week we will review her and HT's business. The family really needs an income to survive.

Patient Z:

Patient Z, our new patient, who is suffering from peptic ulcers and reduced mobillity has majorly recovered since we first met her few weeks ago. Her abdominal pains have lessened and she continues to take Ranitidine to stop acid production. She can walk long distances now with her stick and has no problems with toileting. Constipation has also resolved now. Seems like another successful story for our home-based care team. We will continue nutrition support with weekly porridge and review. All physiological observations are stable. She complained a little tight chest but it seemed clear when listening and her respirations were 22bpm but she had done exercise. She has her monthly CTC hospital appointment next Monday and her daughter Hadija will go with her but we will pay for transport (bajaji).

Patient MP:

Patient MP had a good two weeks without problems until today (Sunday) afternoon when I received a phone call from her family. They reported she had diarrhoea. When I got to the house I discovered she had a fever and severe diarrhoea. She had had watery stools several times. Family refused to take to hospital as Mariam was too sick to travel. Blood pressure was 90/70 and she appeared dehydrated. Family found it hard to give any drinks as Mariam was not swallowing properly. I gave liquid Paracetamol and she managed to swallow that. We gave ORSs (oral rehydration salts) to the family to give to Mariam and left them with more liquid Paracetamol and nappies to wear over night. We went back later with Debbie and Chanzi to cannulate her and put up a saline drip over night. She was not swallowing any of the ORSs. We will review tomorrow morning and try to get a blood sample to rule out Malaria.

 

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