News from Rumbek
Introducing Loreto’s Mary Ward Primary Health Care Centre
The Loreto health department carries out several activities to provide various components of care with a primary motive of providing and maintaining good health. Loreto Primary Health Care Unit, (LP HCU) was established on July 2016 in one of the classrooms and services would be moved to the primary school section. Eventually the LPHCU moved to the lower sides of Loreto compound in one of the classrooms as this section had more people who needed medical care.
In the spirit of Mary Ward that in time to come women will do much, our health services have been growing from a small unit to the current large and facilitated Primary Health Care Centre, PHCC. The new PHCC, named after Mary Ward, was officially opened on February 11th, graced by honorable guests that included the representative for the ministry of health, government representative and the clergy.
According to Mr. Mathiang Deng, the Western Lakes state deputy governor,
“The work you have done here is really appreciated. This is one of the largest health units in Rumbek. It will change the life of our mothers, young children and other vulnerable people who can’t walk long distances to seek treatment. We are glad you brought to us health and we are grateful for your support.”
In the PHCC, curative services are offered to students and teaching / non-teaching staff. In the beginning of every year, all learners undergo physical examination to check for any minor problems and essential drugs and supplies are given.
Upper respiratory tract infections due to contaminations and dust are common in pupils, hence the early checkups are an intervention to prevent further/major illnesses.
In addition, wounds are dressed and fungal infections on scalp and skin are treated. The school has registered a drop in fungal infections and a general rise in classroom attendance.
According to Sr Petra, the clinic administrator and school counsellor, “Besides the regular treatments, the clinic staff have been vaccinated against hepatitis B and the students have received a tetanus vaccine. Children between 0-5 years have been getting regular vaccines. With more support we would extend these immunizations to our beneficiaries.”
Education is the key component of every programme in Loreto and so in the clinic, health education underlies all our health care programmes. Some of the topics covered in health education sessions include prevention of diseases, identifying when to go to the clinic, understanding and expressing feelings and emotions in a healthy way, stress, self-esteem and other important topics for holistic well-being.
The education/care promotes mother and child health as a priority and thus good hygiene and use of safe water are promoted. Health education has also benefited students from other schools through health outreach conducted in neighboring schools in Maker Kuei.
Additionally, the PHCC provides nutritional support which involves babies in the emergency feeding program. With a termly intake, babies are cared for and fed twice daily and provided with iron and multivitamin supplements.
A follow-up is done after they are discharged and positive results have been registered so far. With more support from our donors, the clinic would extend their services and provide the caregivers with mosquito nets.
In a community that continues to suffer persistent trauma, the PHCC continues to play a key role in trauma healing. The services are therapeutic and allows a space for the girls to share their stories, and discuss topics like suffering and resilience. This term, the school counsellor will conduct group and individual counselling where she will meet students depending on necessity and arrange on when to meet them next.
Our hope is to continue providing access to quality healthcare and supportive services to those living at the margins and those who for various reasons continue to experience barriers to health care.