Rural Outreach

On my first day in Zimba, I went on rural outreach with two nurses about an hours drive in the bush on the most wonderfully bumpy dirt road I’ve ever experienced! The outreach usually starts with 50-200 women and their babies sitting under a tree for shade. When we arrive, the nurse gives a talk on either Family Planning/Birth Control, Tuberculosis, etc. Some of these women have over 10 children, so family planning is important. This team has such little help that they offered for me (non-medical background) to give injections. I ended up administering all of the oral vaccines – Rota and Polio, and did blood pressure testing, recorded baby weight to test for malnourishment, and helped with HIV testing. When we ran out of polio vaccine, no one was angry. The Zambians are good, patient people. Some of these women were from nearby, some walked for miles without water, chatting with each other in their colorful chitenges with their babies straddled on their backs. They spoke no english and so they laughed when I did. Seeing the real rural Zambia was an eye-opening experience and it was a privilege to see how these women live and interact with each other and their own children.

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