Starting patient interviews

After getting acquainted with the clinic and hospital setting around Shirati, I started my first interview today. The plan for the day was just to visit the Sota clinic again because the two translators were both busy helping other students here. (The translators are apparently in very high demand because there are only two of them, while there are eight other students with various projects requiring their services. The students are very possessive about their translators, so since I am new, I have to work around other students in booking the translators) Fortunately, the mother of a Burkitt’s lymphoma patient brought her child in for a checkup, so Dr. Kawira arranged for one of her nurses to act as my translator. It was very interesting because the interview helped me understand a little more about the social and economic challenges for the mother and child during her treatment, and it showed me how I needed to edit some of my questions for future interviews.

I’m looking forward to doing more interviews, but as I’m arranging my translator and guide for tomorrow, I’m starting to realize that completing these patient interviews are going to be much more difficult than I had imagined. Originally, I thought that the majority of the interviews would be of patients that are currently receiving treatment and living at the Burkitt’s center down the street. It turns out, however, that currently there is only one patient there. For the rest of the interviews, Dr. Kawira has given us their old case files, and we are to rent motorbikes and search for them at the homes. The difficult part is that there is no system of addresses in the villages, so we are told that we have to find the village chairman, who will direct us to the subvillage chairman, to the head of homesteads, and finally to the parents themselves. It will be an adventure searching for them tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes, but I’m still looking forward to it nonetheless.

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