On Thursday (6/13) we said our goodbyes to Port Shepstone and the lovely friends we made with both staff at Murchison Hospital and with the Johns Hopkins group. Our journey back was beautiful and we arrived safely in Durban. We met with a man from McCord Hospital’s former HIV+ choir. We discussed the many amazing accomplishments of the choir and his perspective on South African healthcare. We then gave him clothing donations that we had gathered in the US from friends and family for him to give to a local community.
On Friday (6/14) we traveled to the University of KwaZulu-Natal to meet with Busi Ncama, the Dean of both the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health, who began to enlighten us on the challenges of advanced practice nursing in South Africa. She graciously gave us the opportunity to tour two hospitals in Durban. We first toured Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, one of only three quaternary hospitals in the country. In South Africa, you must see your general doctor before you can be referred to a specialist and so forth, therefore reserving this hospital only for the most severe of all patient cases in KwaZulu-Natal and part of the Eastern Cape provinces. The hospital was beautiful and we were allowed to observe patients in the outpatient clinics as well as the emergency room, ICU, adult burn unit, pediatric burn unit, and pediatric oncology. The hospital has access to all of the latest technology, providing patients with first world care and hospital equipment due to a sizable allocation of governmental funding. In many ways the hospital afforded us a stark comparison to Murchison District Hospital. You can check out the hospital here – http://www.ialch.co.za.
Next we visited McCord Hospital’s’ male circumcision clinic and TB clinical research center. The male circumcision clinic was cleverly designed to provide for maximum numbers of patients with minimal staff and time delays. They have developed an effective program to attract men from the ages of 15-49 in hopes of reducing the risk of HIV infection through circumcision. We were able to speak with both a doctor and the nurse in charge at the TB clinic while we were there and hear about many of the challenges of attempting to curtail the high incidence of TB infection, development of new TB medications, and creation of a new way of testing for TB using blood samples among other various life-changing endeavors. Feeling grateful for all of the incredible opportunities to experience many different types of healthcare in this unique country.
Siyaphila is isiZulu meaning “We Are Well”