Conga line clinic

Monday 24 July 2017
Sulvua, Emae Island

Today was the first clinic in Mission 2 on the island of Emae.

It was also Children’s Day today so it was a public holiday and the children weren’t at school so they had to be rounded up for the clinic. The supply ship came in today which also disrupted island life.

Our medical team included Glenys, a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife from Melbourne who was on triage, dividing over one hundred people into dental, medical or optical queues.

The dental treatment was done by Samuel, a first year dental graduate Ni-Vanuatu dentist who impressed with his productivity, clinical skill, and cheerful disposition. He was pleased with his performance today, as compared with his usual practice workload. He pulled in excess of fifty teeth today. Samuel was assisted by Bob (a Ni-Van who works with PCV Health and helps organise these missions).

The Dental survey was done by Barry a retired, but still registered, dentist from Melbourne. He also helped Samuel by doing the local anaesthetic for those who needed extractions, to help speed up the extracting. Barry was helped in the survey by one of our sailors, Todd an ex-Australian Army Engineer, who did the recording, as well as driving the rigid inflatable along the narrow channel in the reef to the beach.

The Eye Clinic (PCV Eye) was done by David, an optometrist from Leongatha, Victoria. David had by far the longest queue, looking like a conga-line, spilling out the verandah onto the lawn. It seemed that this was the first eye clinic on the island for four years. Vic was David’s assistant in pointing to the eye cards, and dispensing the spectacles. Vic from Melbourne, is also one of the sailing team, who says he is between building jobs, was impressed by the intensity and volume of the day. David worked in tandem with Derek (a Ni-Van who works with PCV Health in Port Vila).

Nicholas, a GP from England ran the primary care centre with Donald (the local nurse). They were reviewing Donald’s more complicated patients. Also, there seemed to be a lot of right knee pain. Nicholas was impressed by Donald’s knowledge of all his patients. Classic old-school primary care – he knew them and they knew him.

Nicola, an RN from NZ who’s lived in Port Vila for two years, started helping with the survey then helped with triage, then helped with the survey forms. Nicola says the teamwork was good for the first day and appreciated the people’s patience. Children weren’t presenting and most looked healthy and well nourished. Nicola also enjoyed riding in the back of the utility.

But by far, the most difficult job of the day was done by captain Phil and myself, who had to mind the ship, including refilling the water tanks with the watermaker, planning the next day’s passage, reading, washing, cooking…

Sorry, but there are no photos as the Internet connection here is very poor (non-existent).

Fair winds, smooth seas and a conga line clinic.

Mark Stephenson

For those who may not know, Mark is our chief catering officer, doing a fantastic job for all the hungry workers. He’s also a very capable ships crew.
Phil Wicks

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