We were posted in the mobile clinic next. The mobile clinic is essentially a doctor's office on wheels. There is a driver, a medical officer, and three nurses. Each nurse has a different job: ANC patients, distributing medicine, and well child visits. During my first day here the women were all very quiet and they were also very busy with the number of patients that they had.
Since they were so busy I mainly sat back and watched (there was not a lot of room in there so I tried to be in the way as little as possible). The main thing I learned this day was the etiquette (or lack of etiquette) required of Indian people while visiting the doctor. The first patient was a woman brought in by two of her friends. It looked as if they were forcing her to go in and be seen. This woman was an ANC patient and the other woman sat there while she was examined. After this the other two women were seen in turn, and then the rush began. Women and children began filling the van. There were enough seating for two people and a child, but this didn't stop five more women coming in and standing up. In the middle of one persons time with the doctor another woman would come in, sit in front of her and start telling the doctor what was bothering her. It really seemed quite crazy to me and I was surprised that neither the doctors nor the nurses asked the women to wait in a line or anything. The only time this was different was when a man needed to see the doctor. He would stand outside until all the women were finished, once they left he would come in and while he was in there any new woman would stand outside and wait for him to be finished. It was really crazy how things changed.
During the second day we went to a preschool for vaccination day and I helped one of the nurses with well child visits by taking the head and arm circumference as well as the height. Well child visits are done on children from the age of 0-5. During these visits the child's height, weight, head circumference, and arm circumference are taken and then they are charted to determine if that child falls within a healthy range or if they are malnourished. If a child is malnourished they are referred to the hospital where they will be seen by another doctor and the mother will be given supplements and food that will help the baby to be at a healthy weight again.
After the well child visits the mobile clinic was a lot slower so I was shown how to do an ANC visit and how to chart it. I also helped to fill out the referral for one of the patients to go to the hospital for further work. During one of the patient's visits I asked if it was ok if Stephen took her blood pressure and heart rate without really thinking about how the woman would feel about it. The poor girl was so nervous and uncomfortable during the whole thing and I felt really bad once it was over for suggesting that he do it. I just forgot that they wouldn't want to tell me no and that the woman might be uncomfortable, even being touched on the wrist, by a white male even if she did think he was a doctor.
During lunch we went to a temple to eat the lunches that we brought. As we pulled up there were people singing and walking around the temple doing dances and playing instruments (this went on for the duration of our lunch). After sitting down a woman came up and gave Stephen a piece of coconut then she came back later and started putting various food items in front of all of us. The doctor and the nurses didn't think this was unusual at all so Stephen and I followed their lead and ate the extra food that was given to us and it was all pretty good. After lunch all of the women that work in the mobile clinic take a 40 minute nap, so we sat outside with the farms as our view. It was really beautiful and quite relaxing to just sit there and look at all the beautiful land while listening to the people chanting in the temple.
Oh and one thing I haven't mentioned yet is how important tea time is here. At all the places that we have visited we are given tea twice a day. At Kolhar they had a tea delivery man who comes at 10:00 and at 3:30 and in the mobile clinic we stop on the side of the road for tea both at the beginning and at the end of the day. Tea is pretty serious around here and the people start to get a little cranky if they don't have their tea. Also it is served in the smallest cup ever and I am pretty sure that it is 1 part sugar to 1 part tea.