My name is Benjamin Jabke. I am a German volunteer doctor working in Kiwoko Hospital. My experience level as a doctor was one year in internal medicine before I came to Kiwoko. Here I have also been given the chance to work on other wards including NICU, paediatrics and maternity.
In this blog I want to give a small impression of my work on the paediatric ward. At Kiwoko Hospital, children up to approximately 6 years are admitted on the paediatric ward, with children over this age admitted to the adult wards. At first I shadowed a doctor on paeds ward, but after not many days I was working on my own.
Truthfully, paediatrics was a foreign subject to me before my assignment in Africa! Yet quickly I was able to learn an incredible amount. Much is different from adult medicine, but notably the examinations. Since many children on paeds cannot speak yet, history and examination are often done on the mother’s lap.
[Note: Photo used with permission]
Every dosage of medication has to be calculated exactly according to the weight of the child. There are noticeable differences in which conditions patients present with during the year, especially during the rainy season. Besides many cases of malaria, we also have a lot of children with severe malnutrition, because the parents are very busy on their farms and hardly have time to feed the children in a regular or balanced way.
The treatment of severely malnourished children is complex, lengthy and full of complications. It has been very challenging at times to work on paediatrics, especially when children die. Sadly, this happens from time to time, usually due to limited financial and medical resources, or late hospitalisation. But every child that can be helped and made to smile again, always fills me with a deep joy.