A Day in the Life of a Rural Health Care Clinician by Heather Kowalski

June 21, 2010:


The clinic opens at 8am so you show up around 8:10 and wait for the rest of the staff to show up. Sometimes when you show up there is a couple kids from the secondary school waiting at the gate. Some of them have waited since 7:30 and most have to wait for the clinicians.

Most of the cases are malaria, malaria, malaria, and some of the cases stump you. Sometimes we can treat and other times there’s nothing we can do. You never know what kinds of things you will see or not see in the clinic. Some days are slow with almost no patients and other days you can be treating an entire school. Throughout the day you hear children screaming and crying because of the injections or because of the thermometers, or just because.

Most come in with mud caked feet and others stride in with high heels. Sometimes you hear heartbreaking stories, sometimes you see things that make your eyes widen and some days you meet amazing people.

Every day you “take tea” at approximately 11:00, if you don’t someone will come find you and tell you that “there is tea”; tea first, work later. You count the medicine you need for the day and write it in the notebook. Some patients pay for drugs, others promise to come back and pay, but they usually never do.

As the day goes on, the cries become less frequent, the temperature gets cooler and the clouds begin to move in. You race home before the rains begin.

Read Heather's Blog here.