Supervision of rural health centres is one of the key roles of the Semiliki-supported regional medical coordinators. But what does medical supervision involve in practice? Kule, Boga region medical coordinator, and Prosper from the National Medical Coordination team, recently visited Tekele Health Centre. Read on to learn about what the supervision involved, and some of the unusual challenges they found in Tekele.
The first challenge in medical supervision is getting to the centres, which can often involve long journeys and multiple means of transport. Kule and Prosper used motorbikes and pirogue boats to get to Tekele from their base in Bunia. This time it was a relatively short journey of around three hours.
Kule on motorbike/pirogue
Prosper before the crossing at Tekele towards Sota, Bunia
Once on site, Kule and Prosper were able to talk to the four medical workers in the centre, to make sure their work is meeting certain standards, and suggest improvements in their practice. These visits help build the capacity of small health centres in caring for primary medical needs for the local community (the Health Centre at Tekele serves a population of 11,000, treating an average of 370 patients a month). Supervision visits are also an important accountability mechanism.
Kule meets with Mrs Getu Adyeeri, nurse-in-charge of Tekele Health Centre
Through this visit, it was good to learn that the Tekele team is doing many things well, such as keeping up-to-date accounts of its work, but is facing huge challenges. The building itself is in poor condition (see below); temperatures are hot inside for patients, and termites make storing medicines difficult. There is no drinking water on site, and the fridge where medication is kept blew a fuse during a recent thunder storm. Lastly, local cattle, following the shade, are increasingly causing trouble to the Centre, wandering into toilets and showers, as well as damaging the incinerator. So what is the most urgent medical priority for the community in Tekele……? Putting up a fence to keep the cows out!
With all these challenges, Tekele Health Centre is grateful to be supported by Semiliki and the medical coordinators, as they work to help them meet the local population’s health needs.