Thursday, April 26, 2012


22 year old Lucy has been working at the Hospital for 1 year.  She registers patients in the OPD and interprets for me whenever the need arises.  She is one of those truly valuable employees who will do whatever is needed of her and with a smile on her face.  Lucy’s sister works in Maternity and her brother-in-law Emanuel is one of the Hospital drivers.
Lucy grew up in Njinikom close to the Hospital compound.  She attended school here and has passed her A(advanced) level which would be equivalent to high school at home.  She plans to resume her studies in the future and complete a 3 year Diploma Nurse course.  She like most Cameroonians has never ventured further than a few hours away from her birthplace.
Music and Dance are her main hobbies.  She sings with the Hospital Choir and is involved with a Traditional Dance group.  Where ever there is a group of younger people gathered at the hospital, Lucy will usually be in their midst.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Beruda is a local NGO that runs a program to assist orphans in Belo, a community 10 miles away.  Most of the children in the program have lost both parents to HIV.  They live with relatives, most often the grandmother.  The social workers bring them to our clinic for an annual physical and HIV testing.  Yesterday I saw 10 of the Beruda kids, the usual van load.  10 year old Jones stood out from the other children.  He was very polite and was wearing his school uniform.  He told me he was in Form 2 which was the appropriate form for his age which surprised me since his situation could have caused him to be behind in school.  The Social Worker confirmed that he was doing very well in school.  I asked Jones what he wanted to do when he finished school.  Without hesitation he told me “I want to be a Doctor”.  Many obstacles lie between Jones and his dream, may we all keep Jones and his fellow orphans in our prayers.  One hurdle was cleared yesterday, his HIV test was negative!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


3 weeks ago, 30 year old Celeste was admitted to the hospital with marked confusion.  She was diagnosed with HIV which made us suspicious she had either Cryptococcal Meningitis or Toxoplasmosis causing her confusion.  Her spinal tap and Toxo test were negative so we provided supportive care and she gradually improved.  She returned today for follow-up and was doing reasonably well although she preferred to let her husband talk for her.  She will begin her HIV medication today and we will recheck her in 2 weeks.  Her husband has been very supportive and will make sure that she takes her medication daily.

Monday, April 2, 2012


The HIV virus attacks the immune system of it’s host.  The longer the patient has HIV the more difficult it becomes to recognize other infections the patient gets and then successfully eradicate them.  After the patient is started on HIV medications his/her immune system becomes stronger and suddenly realizes there are other infections present and begins to attack them.  Patients may develop fevers, cough, sweats and other symptoms depending on which infections are present and where.  IRIS, Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome, is what we call this when the Immune System awakens and responds.  Tuberculosis and Toxoplasmosis are 2 infections that frequently become evident with IRIS.
Brunhilda is a 33 year old patient who was started on HIV medications 3 weeks ago.  After 10 days of medication she developed pneumonia with high fever, headache, cough and night sweats.  She has IRIS and is currently being evaluated for Tuberculosis as the cause of her pneumonia.  Despite treatment she continues to experience high fevers further increasing our suspicion of TB.  

Brunhilda’s Fever chart, 37.0 centigrade normal