Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kerry Day 2, Meningitis Campaign

April 29th

Yesterday was Day 2 of Kerry's visit, I was just to busy to write about it. We woke up a little late, showered, and read for a little with our tea before walking out to the lycee to take photos with my AIDS Day mural. I've never walked there before, it took about 25 minutes each way, and Kerry said it was about the distance between her house and her CSPS which made me appreciate mine being right next door. We stopped by the marche on our way back to buy some veggies, greeted the CSPS staff, and got water to do our laundry and dishes. It was so nice and relaxing despite the brutal heat, in fact it was so hot we weren't hungry for lunch until 2pm. We made mac and cheese, dinner was cucumber salad and tomato/basil sandwiches with garlic salt. I think it's better with butter, but it was still very tasty and probably a bit healthier without (and I'm out of butter). The wind kept blasting us with dirt and there was some lighting and thunder, we decided to try sleeping outside and got lucky in that it didn't rain, but we both slept pretty badly with the constant gusts of wind.

To catch the bus this morning we got up at 5am. Kerry got ready while I made pancakes for breakfast since it's too early to buy bread. We went to the WPK gare but no one was there. The first STAF came and left, as did the first TSF, and I texted Major who said the bus is broken. Still? How annoying! I avoid TSF because I don't know how to get downtown from that station, having never taken that bus to Ouaga, but STAF is frustrating beyond belief, completely packed to the point that you're lucky to get on at all, let alone have a seat for the 4 hour ride. Kerry got the last seat on the 2nd bus, sitting next to the same person she sat with on her ride out.

I thought vaccination yesterday was busy, today was packed! To my amazement the kids were even in a line, an almost mythical appearance here. A few months before I came to Kossouka they did a large vaccination campaign against meningitis A. I believe it was an experimental vaccine, available in very large quantities, so they vaccinated everyone 0-29 years old. This time they're vaccinating with a combined vaccine against meningitis A/C/Y/W135 (I think that's what they were) so due to cost and limited resource they're only vaccinating kids 2-14 years old. We've had several meningitis deaths in just the past week, so the timing is good. Unfortunately they believe the recent deaths have been a strain called “X” that doesn't yet have a vaccine available here, and it seems to be particularly aggressive. I haven't heard the particulars on the cases, age and general health, etc, but it's still a frightening proposition. Meningitis is a fairly contagious disease so all Volunteers have been vaccinated against it, presumably with the nice expensive one covering all the strains including the mysterious X, but I'm still kind of glad I work in the maternity side of the CSPS, a whole separate building apart from where they deal with diseases. Since it's an injected vaccine I can't even help out very much – a nurse has to give the injection, so I would be relegated to registering names or marking how many kids we'd injected.

Since the ASCs get paid to do this and the group outside the CSPS seemed to have a nice system worked out, I went home, did the rest of my laundry, and spent the day reading and planning what to pack for my trip! I know I still have over a week to figure it out, but since it's on my mind I might as well, right? It helps that I'm busy all week, 3 sensibilizations and several meetings with directors to schedule meetings to talk to the APEs (the parent-teacher association) about moringa and to distribute the seeds and information directly to them.

Last night it was so dusty and windy that I had to stay inside. Tonight looked calm and promising until a huge gust of dirt caused me to slam shut my computer and scurry inside. Now it's raining, beautiful thundering rain pounding away on my tin roof, lulling me to sleep with the cool wind coming in my windows.

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