This week I got the opportunity to catch up with my sister who has an extensive background in the medical field. She has helped in Trinidad and Tobago to do open heart surgeries, worked in the prenatal unit at Cheo children's hospital and currently works as one of the head trama co-ordinators at the civic hospital.
The benefit of talking with her in relating to the Uganada project is she has a lot of insight to medical and assisting devices that I simply wouldn’t know about on my own. I talked with her and showed her previous projects that were done with the Uganda project and bounced a few initial ideas I have had with her. I made sure to not ask leading questions throughout our discussion.
One statement that stood out to me with her experience in Trinidad and Tobago was how there was little to no follow up. Patients would get surgery on there heart and the next day be expected to be on her own. Doctors she had traveled with who have previously done trips like this one almost never stay for more then 2 weeks at the time. If a patient had complications past there trip unfortunately there is a strong chance they die. Also a lot of surgeries being done are conditions that patients were born with. This highlighted the need to better educate family members on how to deal with complications after surgeries on there own. They have discovered from past trips medical supplies left behind are often misused or not at all because people do not know how to use the supplies behind. Though might be obvious one thing that we discovered through our talk that is important to leave instructions behind with supplies that might not be obvious on how to use. To her knowledge none of the supplies given have instructions on how to use properly for someone who isn’t in the medical profession.
The key things I got out of our talk was the following
Need for instructions regardless of the product. For example instructions that show which pieces the tricycles are made out of will help make it easier to repair. Especially if it shows source of where the components were found.
A need for a creative solution to follow up with patients
Aid can sometimes have a negative impact. It might help for the short term, but with little or no follow up equipment might get broken and become useless if a user has now way of sourcing components or getting it fix.
Products that can adapt for various stages in life. Products for children right now can quickly become obsolete when the child grows.
Children as a whole living with disabilities for a long time find creative ways to adapt on there own and are "stronger". Kids who are strong often die because of their medical conditions because of the lack of health care.
Not everyone needs a wheel chair or tricycle who have mobility issues it is often over looked that some people simply just need crutches, braces or walkers. Sometimes people who don't need a wheel chair are given one because that is the only solution being offered. Wheelchairs and larger devices that can make people unable to get into many areas.
Areas I want to look further into.
The need for follow up.
The need for education through instruction manuals.
Conduct more research mobile assisting devices and see how many if any can accommodate a child or an adult.