Kunya Dispensary – May 31, 2012

1 06 2012

By: Sarah Wang

After spending almost 2 weeks in Kunya, I have become quite adjusted to the pace of life here. It is funny because I often joke that I have adopted the schedule of a much older person. Compared to my 3am to 9am sleep schedule in college, I now start getting ready for bed around 8:30pm. I am usually asleep by 11pm at the latest, and I wake up at 7am. Even though my sleep schedule has been completely revolutionized, I am thoroughly enjoying life in Kenya. The food is incredible, and Kelly, Saira, and I even learned how to make chapatti last weekend. If I’m not careful, this might be the healthiest lifestyle I have lived since my middle school years.
This week, I spent a half-day in the Kunya Dispensary, which consists of a clinic, drug dispensary, and an HIV/AIDS wing funded by the CDC. The staff warmly greeted me and soon put me to work. I was stationed at the intake desk in the lobby, where I registered each patient, took their weight, and charged them the registration fee. It was quite a challenge at first because of my limited Luo, but through some basic phrases I picked up and hand gestures, I was able to sort everyone out. There were a lot of young mothers who looked about my age with their children waiting for immunizations or checkups. Many secondary school students also showed up with various sicknesses, and I was able to converse with them in English.
During a lull in the lobby, I got the chance to shadow the other staff members and see them at work. After checking in, the patients wait to see the nurse/doctor, who treats them and prescribes their drugs. The patients then proceed to the window of the dispensary, where another health worker sits at a table behind the window sorting drugs. The table is piled with different boxes of drugs, and I definitely admire the health worker’s ability to work quickly and efficiently, reading the handwritten prescription and filling various bags with pills. She then told the patients how to take the drugs and sent them on their way. There was some confusion when the health worker thought I was trained to dispense drugs as well, and she left me to dispense drugs after teaching me the ropes. I had to find her and explain to her that I was in no way qualified to do so, especially when I could not instruct the patients on how to take their medicine. She quickly laughed and relieved me of my drug duty.
Despite a steep learning curve and a language barrier, I really enjoyed my time at the clinic. I liked interacting with the villagers that came to seek treatment, and I found the clinic’s operations interesting to observe. I plan to work at the clinic once or twice a week from now on, and I can’t wait to learn even more!

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