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    [In Africa as a nurse] Als krankenschwester in Afrika.

    Haag M

    KRANKENPFLEGE JOURNAL. 1992 May; 30(5):204-6.

    The author relates her experience in Benin during a 3 and 1/2 year tenure as a nurse under the aegis of the German Development Agency. In Malanville, she was responsible for starting the operating room, caring for hygiene, sterility, and the related training of domestic staff. A septic and aseptic operating room was set up along with a storage room for instruments, a sterilization room, and a changing room. For the operating and surgical station, the following personnel were available: 2 nurses with 3 years of training, 1 nurse with 2 years of training, and 3 orderlies without training. A nurse with 3 years of training was assigned to the author to carry on the project after her departure. The standard of operating care was very low. It took a month to teach the staff what was not sterile. There was a even problem with putting on sterile gloves which required an exercise in patience. There were an average of 5 relatives per patient taking care of the patient and cooking. The undernutrition center for infants had 6 beds with 2 German nurses who administered Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), diphtheria, polio, and tetanus vaccinations. Their activity was strengthened by nutrition counselling and plans for underweight and malnourished children. Abrupt weaning that resulted in harmful diarrhea and vomiting was prevalent. Clinical signs of marasmus and kwashiorkor were frequent. In the middle of 1990, AIDS educators informed students of the public school as well as registered prostitutes about condom use. In the hospital, there were about 900 births per year, and women were asked to follow recommendations for prenatal care, especially to achieve anemia prevention by getting iron tablets. They were urged to deliver in the clinic, not at home assisted by untrained midwives. Oxytocin and syntometrin were available as was a hand-driven, vacuum evacuation pump. This experience made a lasting impression on the author who has resolved to go to another developing country to train traditional birth attendants in midwifery.
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