Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Immunization Clinic

Every month the hospital has an immunization clinic for babies and children.  There really is no such thing as "well baby check ups" here.  You only bring your child to the doctor when they are sick.  So every month, mothers from all over Togo bring their babies to be weighed and to receive their immunizations.  Diseases like hepatitis, mumps, pertussis and polio are still fairly common here so vaccines are so very important.
So everyone shows up at about the same time. There are no appointments.  And you hope you get a waiting spot in the shade....because you may have to wait a few hours.  And no one complains about the wait.  Everyone is just thankful their child can get immunized.
One side note: do you notice how all the other babies are wrapped in blankets with hats on but there is Anlsey in just a cloth diaper!?  All the other moms kept telling me to wrap her up because she was cold.  Maybe they were had to have been a cool 90+ degrees in the shade that morning.  Downright chilly!
While you wait, Mensah (the Nursing Supervisor) does some great teaching for all the moms.  Here he was teaching about how important it is to give babies and children clean water to avoid deadly dehydration from dairrhea.  He was also teaching about know, things like handwashing, keeping the chickens and pigs away from where the children play and eat, how to keep mosquitoes away, etc.  Normal things that every mom deals with here in Africa. Most moms in America (myself included) worry about planning the next Pinterest inspired birthday party or what the sports their child can play; however, mothers here worry about how they are going to feed their child and how they are simply going to keep them healthy and alive.
After he teaches for a while he begins to check everyone in, which includes my favorite part...weighing all the babies in a meat scale hanging off the roof of the clinic!  As he begins to call names, everyone in unison begins to strip their babies down.  Then he passes around some cloth bag like things that you slip your baby into.  And you wait again with your baby diaper-less in this cloth thing (that countless of other babies have been diaper-less in) until he calls your name.

Ansley getting weighed.  You can't see it in this picture, but there was quite the crowd watching.  They were all just fascinated by her.
Ansley just hanging out. 
What!!??  Isn't this how all babies get weighed, hanging in a bag on a meat scale, hanging off the side of a building? :)
After she was weighed, we waited again for the not so fun part, the shots.  Mensah called 5 or 6 of us in at a time, lined up all the babies and gave them all their shots in an assembly line!  Thankfully Eliza was a big helper and stayed close by all morning. 
Ansley wasn't too happy about the shots and it was a long hot morning, but one day she will thank me and she'll have some pretty neat stories to tell her own children! 

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My family

My family