The events of my clinic visit are too funny to not make a post about. After stopping by the government clinic in town to see what I could learn of PARSALUD, I was immediately ushered in and invited to watch a education session for adolesents. The talk focused on clean food handling practices and personal higene and culminated in a parade... you guessed it I was one of the paraders carrying a sign through the centro of Huancavelica... people got a pretty good kick out of the gringa marching with a sign saying "dogs can transmit rabies." Was all in all a pretty good time and had the chance to talk to some of the 15 year olds marching, got the whole low down on the teen scene in Huancavelica and entertained them endlesly by translating spanish names in to english... of course most are the same with different pronuinciation, nevertheless they were entertained. Went to bed wiped and woke up this am to head back to the clinic for a day of observing and interviewing. Today was the clinic day for pregnant women and young kids. Got the chance to sit in on an education session on voting in the upcoming election (not about the electiion issues but rathe what the ballot will look like). Sitting next to a girl who looked like she was 15 and pegnant I couldn´t help but think how unimportant the informaition was and how irrelivant the session was to real life. After the election info. we learned about TB (currently there are 12 cases the clinic is treating) and then finally the women recieved a rapid result AIDS test- a deisease that has not yet arrived to Huancavelica.
I spent the rest of the day watching the daily goingsons and ended the afternoon with an interview with the doctora. Apparently respiratory illness is the most common illness in the area... wonder what the stoves look like... and levels of depression are increasing, the clinic even does mental health talks. It was really interesting to see how the clinic structures its week with different days that specialize their focus on different age groups providing daily talks on themes that most relate to that age group. The clinic (Peruvian Government) even provides food bags for all women with children under (I think) the age of 2 or pregnant, malnutrition is common and another topic the talks focus on.
The other interesting thing was the role of PARSALUD... while they say they work in Huancavelica they actually have done nothing for this city but rather work building clinics in the really rural areas... the doctora was clear that they provide no logistial help or management skills to their clinic, not the story I got from the PARSALUD guy. Tomorrow I plan to visit the local hospital to see what they have to say.
It was really interesting getting to see how the government run system works, while things at the clinic were really chaotic and the space was nothing like the super hospitals of the US the clinic was treating and seeing a lot of patients (30 per doctor a day), giving supposedly free medicine to those who need it (the consult was free but I did hear one woman paying for her meds), and even offering food aid to new mothers. While the classes could have been better at least there was some kind of education on healthy life habits and diseases to watch out for. I am hoping tomorrow I can get some more tangable numbers, did get some idea of the birth rate and maternal mortality rates but would like something more concrete.
Final interesting thing was about the natural medicine and how in the more urban centers like Huancavelica (this is no city but it is bigger than a village) folk medicin and modern medicine mesh while in some of the more distant rural areas people are more skeptical of modern meds. I think it points back to educating people that perhaps a ballance between the two is what is needed, incorporating rather than rejecting what people have believed in and have seen to work for a reallly long time.