I have spend two profitable weeks in Bunia. The first week I spent at the General Hospital where I saw how to manipulate a CD4 machine. This is a machine that counts the presence of the white blood cells that are destroyed by the HIV. Because one part of the machine did need to be replaced, it didn’t work really well. A lot of patience was needed. But in the end I could follow the whole process from blood sample to result. I also could attend counseling and testing as well as consultations of people living with HIV.
The PACANET conference was good, although translating from French to English (for the PACANET staff) and from English to French (for the participants) took a lot of time. Also I would have appreciated more time to share. In spite of all the talks though, I could establish friendships and we shared contacts. The conference ended with the election of a temporary team (three men and three women) to work together with PACANET to set up the start of a network.
The trip back to Adi went without problems. I connected with Dr Simon and Dr Claude in Aru and spent the night there. On Sunday February 16we went to Adi together. Last week I spent time checking the finances of the AIDS Awareness Program in 2013 (as preparation for the meetings we will have from Wednesday 26 February until Saturday March 1).
The hospital staff is slowly starting the treatment program for people living with HIV. Sadly they lost two patients because of AIDS related diseases when I was in Bunia. The two doctors decided that they wanted to talk with the people working in Arua in the Arua Hospital AIDS Program to know more about how we can collaborate together, how people who are being treated in Arua now can be transferred, if and how we can transfer people to Arua, and so on. So, yesterday afternoon Simon, Claude and I went to Arua and had a good talk with them. We stayed the night here so that we can order prints of documents that we will need in Adi to register patients. And…today we will return to the hospital to see the laboratory (with their CD4 machine) and more talks before we return to Adi this afternoon.
It is great to work with these two doctors. They have a full schedule at the Adi Health Zone (Simon) and the hospital (Claude) but they take time to connect with people with a real desire to work together.