After months of preparation and planning, and against all odds, our weekly free medical clinic in the trash dump community is now open!!!!
We tried to open the clinic a few months ago, but had to relocate due to issues with the landlord. Then once we moved and we were going to open, the flooding season started, which meant our clinic building was under water, so that delayed the opening again. But now that the rainy season is almost over, we decided to just go ahead and open it now.
The reason we have a clinic in this community is that there is no access to medical care for them within a reasonable distance. The closest clinic they could go to is 5km away. Though this may not seem that far to most people, when it costs them almost a day’s wage to get there, they just cannot afford to go…especially when they have had previously bad experiences there so they feel they might not even get the help they need if they do spend the money to go.
The day of our clinic opening I was a little nervous. How would the community receive us? Would we have any patients? Would we have too many patients that we couldn’t handle the volume?
I arrived ahead of the midwife and got a chance to talk to our community partners a little about the clinic. My language is still quite limited, so our conversation was very basic, but we were able to understand each other enough to figure out some final details. A little bit later, the midwife arrived. The only problem was there were no patients yet…
Instead of just sitting around and waiting for patients to arrive, we all got to work sorting through medicine donations to see what was expired and what could be used. We worked quite efficiently as a team and before we knew it, we were done!
A little bit after we finished sorting through the medicines, the patients started arriving.
Our first patient was a little boy who had been having diarrhea for over a month with bleeding.
I cannot imagine being four years old and being continually sick for that long. I am so glad our midwife was there and was able to help him. Though she saw many other patients with all sorts of problems that day, the young boy stood out to me as why we are there in the first place. People shouldn’t have to live in sickness, especially children. They should be learning, playing, and growing strong and healthy—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I know that the clinic cannot solve all of the medical problems in the community. But you have to start somewhere, and this is our first step. I am excited to see the impact on the community for years to come and how we continue to develop our strategy for better health for the Cilincing trash dump community