Wednesday afternoons have become my little sanctuary. In the middle of a busy week, in the middle of a busy slum, I forget about all else that is going on in life as we set out to battle sickness within our communities.
With the car packed with tents, tables, chairs and most importantly medicines, we head out to one of our beautiful communities. Whilst everything is being set up the word spreads that the doctor has come, and as we wait, Mamas begin to arrive bringing with them their sick children.
Once registered the Mamas wait in line to be seen by the doctor. On the surface it can seem like the simplest of things, prescribing paracetamol and dealing with coughs and colds but amongst the everyday snuffles there are sick and malnourished children desperately in need of treatment.
In the UK, we are so quick to criticise the NHS. Don’t get me wrong, our healthcare system is far from perfect, but to have access to quality healthcare that is free at the point of care is something we should never take for granted. Every week we see children in need of further investigations or specialist care but the reality is their Mama’s are simply unable to afford the transport to hospital let alone the medical bills.
It’s not just the inner medic in me that loves MMU, it is much more than that! It is knowing that we are providing access to healthcare that these children otherwise wouldn’t have. It is knowing there is a system in place to identify sick or malnourished children within our communities, which again is nowhere near perfect, but it’s a start, and I believe the potential for MMU is huge!
Every week as MMU draws to a close, and the children have all wandered away carrying their medicines, I look around and feel honoured to be working in such an incredible place, with such incredible people. It is easy to feel like what we are doing doesn’t even scratch the surface, but I refuse to think that way. As a Wednesday evening draws to a close I am proud of what I have been a part of today, and look forward to next Wednesday where I can return to my sanctuary.