Over the years, we have sought the best way to meet health needs. We believe that one of the best ways is to help the government immunize. Each larger town has a clinic (CSI). The head nurse (major) is given the responsibility to care for an area of people, usually 10 - 15 villages, and about 20 – 25,000 people. While in a couple of the bigger outlying villages within this area, there are usually one or two first aid nurses, the major is charged to frequently visit the outlying villages. We can easily help with both transportation and man power for these visits to help them vaccinate this population. For us, we fit into an established, complicated system with minimal effort. Although it puts us in a helping role, dependent, and under their leading, it allows us to make relationships with local governmental and village leaders and medical personnel. We are given credibility to our presence in a post-colonial, project-oriented country.
Vaccination teams witness to Jesus’ compassion to needy people in a concrete way. Vaccinations provide immunity to diseases, both to individuals and communities and they lower the disease threat to communities, giving people more time to hear The Message. They provide inroads to new villages and continued open doors where otherwise Christians would be banned. They provide a wonderful opportunity to do pre-evangelism and direct, hands-on blessing and intercession. Vaccinations offer an opportunity to meet people and act as a conversation opener.
- Registration – Tylenol – Vaccination - Gift
- Locally it is called “Paracetamol”
- Doses are as follows:
125 mg/ 1 tsp/ 5 cc of liquid for a small child
250 mg/ ½ tab for a school age child
500 mg/ 1 pill for an adult
- It is best, but not crucial, if you can give the dose to the child before the vaccination is given. Give the cup to the mother, care giver, or the child to hold. Do not stand directly in front of the child as sometimes they will spew it out.
- Bring an extra outfit or T-shirt per day.
- Wear gloves.
- Some vaccines will need to be re-constituted. Have two people to check the dilution, no matter how busy you are.
- Make sure you draw up ½ cc of vaccine, not air.
- Keep all vaccines as cool as possible. Most are heat sensitive. BCG and Measles are also light sensitive.
- Greetings are so important in this culture, first the parent and then the child.
- Do not separate moms and children.Vaccinate them, if possible, while their mom or older sibling holds them or carries them on their backs. Sometimes the moms will just expect you to take the child yourself; try to encourage her to sit in the chair and hold her own child.
- Use gentle but firm restraint. If a child is wildly thrashing about and screaming, an African will usually come to help hold the child. It is better to let the child go than to accidentally break a needle off in the child’s arm or have the child slapped and humiliated, injured from unnecessary restraint, or cause such a scene that the child will be abusively beaten afterwards.
- If the child refuses, take their registration card and tell the person counting doses.
- If a private place is not provided for the vaccinations, try to shield a child who you see is especially afraid with your body between them and the crowd.
- If you shame the parent, you will only make it worse for the child when he/she gets home. If a Songhai parent is getting out of hand in his/her punishment towards a child, usually a friend or family member will come between the parent and child or will give the child sanctuary till the parent calms down.
- Take every measure possible to insure you are not stuck with a used needle, bitten by a child, spit up on (especially in the face), urinated upon, or defecated upon. Most of this is minimized if the parent holds the child and gives the dose of Tylenol.
- Also, it is advisable to take a change of clothing and a fresh lab coat with you each day, along with hand sanitizers, wet wipes, bleach wipes, a pen, and scissors.
- Bless, pray, and speak Truth over the child. You have a special opportunity to pray for each child you lay hands on, what a privilege! Pray with your eyes open and continue through your normal movements so they will not think you are putting a spell on them. Eye contact with a child is fine. Bless them in Songhai.
- Wear gloves.
- Do NOT recap needles.
- Dispose of used needles and syringes separately from paper trash.
- Be accurate on your technique for each injection.
- Pay meticulous attention to your sterile technique. Abscesses are common with all the filth.
- Keep an accurate count of vaccinations given.
- Put a check in the upper right hand corner of each card when you give the dose, so that the card cannot be used again by another person.
- Vaccine must be kept cold. (Work out how you are going to do this with your Songhai Team Host)
- All nurses will give the injection in the same arm. If this is not possible, note it in writing on the registration card.
- It is best if the children can stay around the clinic for 15 – 30 minutes after the vaccination is given, to make sure there has not been an allergic reaction of any kind. If this is not possible to control, then we will try to stay in place 15 - 30 minutes after the last vaccination is given.
- Some children have been taught that white people will eat them.
- They are afraid of the latex gloves.
- They associate your white coat with previous not-so-pleasant trips to the local clinic.
- They are afraid of needles, pain, and the unknown, like we all are!
- They are afraid of the shaming from peers and discipline (sometimes abusive) from their parents if they move or cry.
- Language barrier
- Very long, very busy days
- Harsh climate (very hot or very windy and dusty)
- The unknown, undefined working situations
- Chaotic situations, noisy, crying in “surround sound”
- Coming face to face with great human suffering and poverty
- Being unable to address or meet all the needs
- If you are coming to help a clinic to do the usual childhood vaccines, the major should be able to supply the syringes, vaccine, cooler, paperwork/ registration card, and used needle containers.
- If you are coming to do a clinic independently of the major, you will need to bring all your own supplies. Generic medications are usually available for purchase here at good prices. If you are considering a medical-oriented ministry with us, we should begin to plan and purchase needed items as soon as possible to obtain what your team requires before you come. While they may not be of the same quality you are used to using in the States, this will cut down on your purchase expense and the amount of supplies you need to transport and clear through customs. Any medications or supplies you bring in must NOT be out of date.
- Supply list to consider:
Syringes and needles, appropriate sizes for vaccines and reconstitution
Used needle containers
Alcohol and cotton
Regular - sized Band-Aids
Non - sterile gloves
Tables, table coverings, and chairs
Wet Wipes for faces and hands
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - liquid and tablet
BP cuff and stethoscope
Epi-Pens (or Epinephrine and syringes) and Benadryl
Trash cans and liners
Get the job done
- If you are working outside, you might use a string and the cars to establish boundaries and crowd control.
- It is easier to keep “traffic” flowing if you arrange your stations in a row, which is not always easy when you are intent upon finding shade and avoiding donkey poop!
- Whatever your hands find to do, focus on it, and do it with your might, because you are serving Christ.
- Each person should have an assigned task. Stay put at your assigned job. It gets the whole team out of sync if one person goes missing. Each job is important, whether you are holding a child or counting doses or giving a sucker.
- Vaccination clinics require of each individual flexibility, team work, stamina, resolve, and perseverance.
- Bless, encourage, and build up individuals and parents. Model compassion with hugs and kisses, tender touches, and smiles.
- Do not forget to encourage your team mates and pray for each other as the day goes by.
- Do not forget in your busyness to drink your water and take a break for lunch.
- a notarized copy of your license(s) and diploma(s)
- antiviral therapy in cases of needle sticks
- white lab coat(s)
- Start with praise and thanksgiving
- Intercede for travel
- Pray for the clinics
- Intercede for each child receiving the vaccination
- Pray for team members
- Intercede for The Lost
- Other prayer subjects