At the Rain Tree Clinic (RTC), electricity is only available from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Past this time the generator gets turned off. The team has to use headlights to walk around the campus and to check on the patients every few hours.
It is crucial for the staff and students to charge their phones and laptops when electricity is on so that they are operational for the next 24 hours. Sara, RTC Administration & Finance Director, gives us more insights:
“In order to efficiently run the clinic, we need to have constant communication with them. We need to be able to keep track of the medicines, supplies, funds on hand, and patients. Access to computers and phones is vital.”
Hsa Khu Say Wah, Year 4 Physician Assistant student, using his phone for IPD patient rounds at night.
Being in touch with the outside world can be the difference between life and death in this remote environment. Our medical team sometimes needs to contact the T-RAD Clinic doctor on-call to make decisions about a patient’s case. If a patient’s illness is severe, they will have to make a decision to transfer the patient to a more advanced facility in the nearest town or city. The referral process requires the input of the medical, admin and financial support teams who need to approve the transfer.
“Having a consistent and stable power supply will directly affect patient care and referrals out by reliably powering oxygen concentrators and a refrigerator to keep certain medicines, like insulin, at a proper temperature. At RTC, they recently had a young teenager in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and had no insulin to give her. So the only option was for our students and staff to quickly load her into a “bambulance” (hammock on a bamboo pole) and walk with her, the whole night, to the T-RAD Clinic. Not only would a stable power supply provide power to charge and operate communication devices to contact outside doctors and consultants, but it would give our students and staff more treatment options, safely power diagnostic equipment, and enable them to provide a higher level of care to the community.” – Tyler, PA Training Coordinator
Picture 1: RTC team putting a patient in a bambulance. Picture 2: Villagers carrying a patient away in a bambulance.
Because RTC does not have continuous electricity, EMA is sometimes forced to prioritize our team over the clinic. When a rabies outbreak started in the area, we had to make sure our staff and students were vaccinated. RTC is not able to keep vaccines on hand because they require a refrigerator and 24/7 electricity supply. EMA had to send team members from RTC to pick up vaccines for staff and students, leaving the clinic understaffed.
“It was vital for our staff and students to receive the series of rabies vaccines. Because we were not able to keep a supply on hand, 3 separate special trips to pick up the vaccines needed to be taken over the course of 1 month. This all occurred during rainy season, which makes the 2 day trip very dangerous. At least 2 staff members travel each time, taking them away from their clinic duties. Having a reliable power grid (and, therefore, a cold chain) allows the clinic to function in a much more efficient manner.” – Sara
In addition, the Physician Assistant students still need time to study. Having lights at night would allow our students to do their homework past 9:00 pm using their tablets and laptops. It would also enable them to use the classroom AV equipment for lectures to ensure a better educational experience.
This Giving Tuesday, you can make a difference for our staff, students and patients at the Rain Tree Clinic. Donate to install a power grid and provide better healthcare to a populated area of 2,500 people.
Go back to the #GivingTuesday campaign page, here.