Thursday, August 10, 2006

Access to health care

Srinagar, Indian-Administered Kashmir,
October 2005

I'm back from three nice nights in Monrovia, where we can stay in very nice apartments with HOT WATER! On the way there we stopped at one of our clinics where a woman was in labor distress and needed to be transported to the Liberian Government Hospital in Buchanan. The clinic had stopped a few cars but the drivers had demanded 400 Liberian Dollars (US$8.16) and the woman's family couldn't afford it.

We radioed for a Merlin vehicle heading back to Monrovia to take the woman but by incredible luck a Medecins sans frontieres car came by with Dr. Jochan. He delivered the baby but it had died.

This could almost certainly have been prevented. It was her second pregnancy and second loss. Better health education and the option for family planning would probably have helped. Better access from rural areas to the clinics (she had had to walk to the clinic) would also have helped. An ambulance system that could be dispatched to the clinic could or her home would probably have saved the baby's life. Actually we expect to be able to put an ambulance in place, thanks to an anonymous donor, but the attitude of Liberians who wouldn't even take her to the hospital is always going to be a stumbling block.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Cheerful construction worker adhering to Liberian safety rules and regulations. August 3, 2006.

My running speed is slowly improving, but not because of any great dedication. I'm a bit too ready to use the frequent rains as an excuse not to go. Actually recent improvement is probably due to walking up and running down the hills.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Québec referendum

'Non' celebrations, Québec sovereignty referendum, May 20, 1980. This was while I was doing my Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at Concordia. I also went to the 'Oui' headquarters ('Non' won the referendum by 59.9%) and shook hands with Parti Québecois leaders Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Parizeau. It pays to hang around the wings somtimes. No photos of that though.

[Irrelevant prattling about my then blog format removed.]

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Hospital pump and reading

Lori, April 3, 2002

It's the first of the month which means we're in the middle of a lot of accounting and project reporting here at Merlin Buchanan. In the midst of this the water pump at the hospital we support (the Liberian Government Hospital here in Buchanan) failed again yesterday... sigh... this undoubtedly mean another dip into our already hemorrhaging hospital maintenance budget...

Last night I finished re-reading Mordecai Richler's Solomon Gursky was here, which I highly recommend.

It was particularly interesting to note which features and passages I remembered from my first reading, which was sometime before 2001.

I list what I've read in 2006 here. (Start here for other years.)