By 11a we were on to Katatura Hospital, where we worked in 2016, to do the patient screening. There were quite a few patients ready to be seen, so we quickly got moving. The team usually focuses on foot and ankle deformities but based on the specialties of people on this mission team we were also seeing patients with knee, shoulder, and arm injuries.
I’m their first stop. I check in the patients and create an information sheet (chart). I gather their basic personal information – name, birth date, contact information. Then I gather details about why they’ve come to see the team for evaluation. There are many languages spoken in Namibia, so I often run into communication challenges. But it’s rarely a major issue because the other patients are quick to help translate.
From me, they move on to be photographed. We take photos to help identify patients and to collect information about their deformities. For example, if it’s an ankle deformity, we take pictures of the person’s ankle from different angles. This helps when the doctors need to revisit a case in the future, compare before/after, or to include in their research articles.
It was a bit of a chaotic scene. In Vietnam, the local nurses very carefully control the whole process, even keeping patients in a “staging” area before we see them. Here, everything happens in one big room. People have to sit in a crowded room for several hours and there’s occasionally some jockeying for position or disagreement about who should go first.