Malnourished and ill children need immediate medical assistance. Since October 2017, Johanniter International Assistance is operating a stabilisation centre within a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in the South Sudanese city of Wau. Both IDP and neighbours from the surrounding area seek help for their children there. Our 26-year-old colleague Rakela Joseph Albino works in the centre as clinical officer and describes her daily work:
"As clinical officer I ensure that the centre functions properly and provides good quality diagnoses and medical treatment. When I am assigned to the day shift, I replace the night shift at 8am receiving a report. Between 9am and 10am my patient visit takes place. Depending on the number of patients, this can take an hour and happens always together with a nurse.
Between 10am and 5pm we make our outpatient consultations for new patients who visit us. It starts with registration, taking vital signs and screening for malnutrition. I remember a girl we attended some days ago. She was diagnosed with uncomplicated malaria and we treated her with antimalarial drugs. Such cases are frequent and always attended by the clinical officer on duty.
Every Tuesday we have a team meeting at 2pm with all clinical officers, inpatient nurses, nutrition assistants and other support staffs in our consultation room. All patients admitted in the last 24 hours are reported, allocation of work and important issues are discussed during the meeting. This is not an arena for letting out your frustration; Feedback is expected to be shared in a thoughtful and constructive way. These meetings are important to join in your respective departments as it provides quick and deep local knowledge of who you will be working with every day, as well as how the responsibilities of the day are distributed.
In our centre we can quickly make blood slide to determine blood glucose or diseases such as malaria or Hb. This is important in order to be able to react quickly, especially with small children. I remember a one-year-old boy who was acutely malnourished. He suffered from high fever, convulsion, vomiting everything, diarrhoea with dehydration and mild pale. His weight of 6,5 kilogramme was similar to a four-month-old infant. He was in very poor conditions. We admitted him immediately and treated him with therapeutic food. After only two weeks he reached his normal weight, was healthy and smiled again.
These are the moments that motivate me in my work. I enjoy it when the little children and their mothers can laugh again and leave diseases and worries behind. We have been able to help hundreds of children here in the last few months.
Personally, I have a degree in public health and clinical medicine. However, it is difficult to get a stable job with regular loan in South Sudan. Therefore, I am very happy about this job with Johanniter, where I get paid regularly and well. That makes me financially independent, which is important to me."