Basic necessities

From Amanda, a Wisconsin Lutheran College nursing student:

On Thursday, our group traveled to the Mwembezhi Health Clinic, about 100 kilometers or 60 miles from Lusaka. Katie and I started out in the ART room (antiretroviral therapy room), where medications were being given out to new HIV patients. New patients were given a two-week supply. Over the course of a year, they slowly work their way up to being dispensed a three-month supply. This allows the clinic workers to more closely track drug compliance with new patients.

The worker handing out the medications was actually a part of the cleaning staff but was trained to help out with the ARTs. She seemed to really care about the patients and made sure to have a positive interaction with each of them. When patients who were just beginning ART came in, she made sure to thoroughly educate the patient on the medication.

She stressed taking the medications at the same time every day, but this appeared to be a problem for one of the patients. Katie and I figured out that this patient did not have access to a watch, clock, radio, or anything that would tell her what time it was. The health worker said that she could go buy a watch for five kwacha (about $1), but I am not sure if that will actually happen. It is astonishing to think that in this day and age, there are individuals who do not have access to so many things we consider basic necessities. Clearly, the need is real.