Today was another schizophrenic day in Zimbabwe. I laughed this morning at a man that was telling me about his toothache and how he thought the tooth would probably need to be pulled…..¨you know sister, I have had other teeth pulled,¨ he said smiling a wide grin full of about 6 intact yellow teeth. ¨Yes, I can see that,¨ I responded.
Then this afternoon I spent hours in a meeting making the final preparations for the new clinic only to be told that 126 patients had been identified with their CD4 counts done. Three on the waiting list had already died, 3 more had CD4 counts of 1 (normal with no HIV is about 800 – 1500) waiting for the Ministry to approve the opening of the clinic. My heart broke imagining the people excited that they finally got on a list for HIV treatment and to wait while beaurocrats (sp?) slowed their only hope at life. While we were in the meeting one patient called to check on whether they could come to the clinic for treatment yet. Augh!
This part of my job is so infuriating.
The patients are wonderful, no teeth and all, but the policy makers are so out of touch with the situation that they do not realize one day means lives that could have been saved.
The sky on the other hand was like the Simpsons episodes, full of big clouds and clear blue as far as the eye could see. It is beautiful. See you all in 6 weeks.