The Leprosy Mission (TLM) Community Hospital

Yesterday and today were spent in TLM Community Hospital in Dayapuram, about an hour away from the house in Madurai. When we arrived yesterday we met the Medical Director and he gave us a lot of information about leprosy, the causes and treatments available. Afterwards, we were taken on a tour around the hospital and then to the Nurses’ Station for a coffee break. After the break, we started following a timetable which involved spending about an hour in each of the different departments in the hospital. In every department we were given a tour and more information. The hygiene practices are a million times better than at MMHRC and gloves were available and used as readily as they are in the UK. The lab was extremely basic but they guys there had a lot of experience and knew exactly what they were doing.

At the end of the day, we went to visit the patients on the ward. It was really nice to see a lot of happy patients. They were all cared for really well and one woman had been receiving care in the hospital for over 40 years. Since the recent recession, a lot of big companies have stopped making donations which is why they’re desperate for volunteers to make up for staff shortages. Whenever we walked in to the wards the patients would sit up, the women would put on their jewellery and the men would comb their hair becuase they’re all desperate to have their picture taken. Whenever we walked past the door they would shout ‘”Camera, camera!”.

Today we were cleaning and redressing the ulcers, assisting the physiotherapist and sorting medical records. After a million hours in the labs at uni, I know how to run a Gram Stain test in my sleep so I was sent to the lab where I assisted in diagnostic tests. I was trained how to take the samples for the Skin Smear Test (SST) which is used to diagnose leprosy so I also spent some time taking samples from the out-patients. All in all it was a pretty good day.

I’m not back in MMHRC till Monday so I’m going to (finally) see the Meenakshi Temple tomorrow. The temple has its own elephant which I’m really excited about… I’m also going to get some more trousers made. I’ve only been here 13 days and I’m already calling trousers ‘pants’. I’m having to talk soooooo sloooowly becuase absolutely no one, even the Americans and English, can understand anything I say. We’re exchanging lots of words which is fun and there’s been a lot of confusion.

Anyway, this weekend we’re off to Courtallam which is often called the ‘Spa of the South’. The area is famous for its many beautiful waterfalls and cool temperatures which I am VERY excited about. I’m exaggerating really… the heat really isn’t that bad and I’ve so far avoided getting sunburn. Saying that, the nurses at MMHRC call me Snow White! But yes, fingers crossed for a nice breeze and I’ll post all about it when I return next week :p

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures… only the temperamental computer was free in the tinternet cafe… xxxx


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:56:54

    Hello Snow White! What an amazing experience to be taking swabs and testing – it´s great you are getting the practical experience you hoped for. lots of love Mum xxxx


  2. Jenna
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 15:01:32

    Sounds absolutely fantastic!!


  3. Pops
    Jul 17, 2010 @ 16:45:20

    Hi Stephie,
    Hope you are still enjoying yourself. Gran and I are fine.
    Your pictures are fantastic.
    You will know by now that your dad is home and is glad to be back. I think he is away to the Lake District for the weekend.
    Missing you lots.

    Love you
    Pops. xxx


  4. Gaynor
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 11:05:38

    It must be a great feeling to be doin g such fantastic work and really making a difference to people’s lives. It’s all fascinating, can’t wait to hear more details when you get back.
    How’s the food? Have you had Dheli Belly yet? Hope not.
    Keep posting as I’m up to date now and can’t wait to hear more,
    Love you lots,
    Gaynor xxxx


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