Wednesday, July 15, 2009

June NRT Trip

Seems like very old news now, but here is a recap of our June NRT trip to Patna, Bihar, and Dibrugarh, Assam. There were 2 days of training at both locations and both were very successful. The group we went sightseeing with on Saturday, June 6th, in a previous post was the training team that was with us for the entire trip.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 – we attended Fast and Testimony meeting and visited a while afterwards before leaving. Even though we were only leaving our Sunday meetings early, saying goodbye to those that followed us out gave me a taste of what it is going to be like when we do leave these wonderful people to come home. I about choked on the lump in my throat.

We got home ok, gathered our stuff together and we were ready when the car came to take us to the airport. We met up with the team and at 3:30 PM we were on our way to Patna, Bihar. That evening we met with Dr Sherin and Dr Sufia over dinner to check final agendas, etc. and found out Dr Sherin was now the head of the UNICEF office and Dr Suffia had Dr Sherin’s old position over Child and Maternal Care. Both people are very deserving of the move up.

Monday morning there was an opening ceremony to begin the training program including several government officials, blessedly short speeches, a lot of press coverage, etc. The actual training began at 12:30 and once it got going, it went very well through both days.

The training went so well, we finished a little early and had time for a couple of short tours. The hospital where we trained was the same one we used last November and it is still woefully underfunded, lacking so many basics, etc. I’m not including hospital pictures this time.
Dr Komandina with one of the practice groups.
The nurses were trained separately from the doctors, but were very enthusiastic about the training.
We also took a brief tour of the maternity hospital across the street. Good people wanting to do their best in delivering health care and really fighting an uphill battle with what they have to work with. They were proud of their delivery room, and rightfully so, given the state of the rest of the hospital.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 – we got back to Delhi late due to a flight delay and got to our hotel after 10 PM. We were not going back to Noida and then come back again in the morning to catch a flight to Assam so we stayed with the team in Delhi.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 – off to Dibrugarh, Assam, with a stop in Guwahati, Assam, en route. Cindy had the window seat and was amazed at how green and tropical the terrain looked as we approached Guwahati and I agreed, it was beautiful. When we landed at Dibrugarh, we were very surprised with a new airport terminal that had only been open for 6 months. It was really nice. We met Dr Trakroo while we were waiting for our luggage. He had gotten on board when we stopped in Guwahati. First personal meeting with him and I was impressed. Very nice personality and someone who definitely had his act together.

Dr Ajay Trakroo, UNICEF Assam. Finally met the doctor I was introduced to on the phone back in October, 2008, but that is another story.

Dr Tulika who teaches at the medical college in Dibrugarh and handled the logistics on the Dibrugarh end. She was great to work with. It is always fun to finally meet someone you have only emailed and talked to on the phone.
None of these trainings could go without the administrative support provided by two very competent ladies. Sister Tanner and Sister Anderton handling registration, pre and post testing, completion certificates, etc.

Dr Barry Anderton, our team leader, kept things light and was a great person to be around. We used the new inflatable (water and/or air) NeoNatalie manikins for this training. You can see one on the table.

Dr Trakroo did an outstanding job of getting state and GOI officials to the training. Here the head of Assam's Health Ministry is speaking. Everyone had high praise for this man's efforts in bringing about change for the better. Barry said he actually had tears in his eyes when he spoke of the training and the benefit it would bring.

Not everything was serious ...

After lunch on the last day of training, we took a group picture on the roof of the hotel. Sister Tanner said we were too wide, so on impulse I decided to lay down in front. It got quite a laugh and then another doctor joined me. This was a very fun group to work with and all very personable.

On Thursday, we toured a new infant ICU that was recently completed at the public hospital under Dr Trakroo's guidance. It is a model for what he hopes to propagate throughout Assam. Dr Jenkins, center, said it was as good as NICU's in the states. We had to gown up to enter. This is day compared to Bihar's night.

The Brahmaputra River behind the hotel. The audio on the clip explains it. A couple of weeks after we left, the water level was much higher. Even with what you see, there are deep channels and steamers provide transport up and down the river.

There was a wholesale warehouse next to the hotel. When we came out to leave one evening, the truck was being unloaded. It took 8 guys less than an hour to unload the truck and take everything inside, and upstairs, in the adjacent building. 50 kg bags (110 lbs)

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