Getting to know Gertrude
Gertrude is a mother to 8 children – 5 of which have passed away. Gertrude is 45 years old and started suffering with abdominal pain which she says has been happening for one year. She said, “At first, I felt it was not a serious problem, but then I thought, I cannot carry on like this”.
During Inter Care’s visit to St Joseph’s Hospital in Limbe, Malawi, the team sit down with Gertrude to understand what help she needs and the difficulties the hospital is experiencing.
What happened when you saw the doctor about your pain today?
I saw the doctor just now, and he says he can feel a swelling, and possibly it is a cyst, but is not usual to experience this level of pain, so they are still assessing. They are going to run some tests and in the meantime they are going to give me some pain medication.
What has it been like living with the pain the last year?
My husband is a bishop and I do a lot to help him and it involves a lot of travel around the local area to support his ministry. It has been a problem for me to get around recently because of the pain so I hope getting this sorted out will enable me to go back to work.
During our visit, it is clear that treating patients like Gertrude is difficult at St Joseph’s Hospital due to a lack of resources for diagnosis.
The laboratory is small and they have a chemical analyzer, which had been funded by an external company, however the funding has stopped so the machine was longer in use. They are lacking an incubator so were unable to process any cultures which is a big challenge for them. Sourcing products is an issue due to ‘out of stocks’.
Inter Care support St Joseph’s Hospital by donating medicines and working with health partners in the UK to provide medical equipment.