March 5, Rural Enugu
Today we are heading to a rural area to hopefully do some immunization work. After a one hour drive, we arrived at a large clinic. Outside, under the shade of a gum tree, over 100 mothers and babies were seated in chairs awaiting our presence. Mothers were conversing and nursing their babies, all looking content and relaxed. Health care workers were preparing to update their records, noting new births and updating vaccinations. We had hoped to actively participate but once again, the OPV had already taken place the previous days. Other vaccines were on the docket, such as DPT etc.
We watched as busloads of mothers arrived from the surrounding 40 villages. We sent our bus to bring 36 mothers and babies to the clinic. There were infants of all ages, from day-old to toddlers. These children were so very beautiful that it was challenging to resist taking photos of all of them. Many of the children were dressed up in fancy clothes and we saw many tiny infants bundled with blankets and warm hats. The outside temperature was once again close to 100° F. Doctors and healthcare workers tried to stress that it was unhealthy to overheat and overdress the babies. It was fortunate that one infant was diagnosed on the spot with pneumonia. Had this condition not been found, the infant would have died. Kudos to the clinic.
In the evening, we had drinks and snacks at the home of Dr. Iheanyi Okpala, the Rotary PolioPlus chairman for Rotary District 9140 (note – Rick has been working with Iheanyi for the past 6 months to organize this trip). In addition to our team, he had invited several of his physician friends and his fellow Rotarians. His home was beautiful and spacious. Our NID team’s last dinner together was back at the guest house restaurant where we had been “dining” for the past several days (chicken and rice!). We shared our thoughts and appreciation for one another.
Tomorrow, it is homeward bound for everyone.