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To alleviate the manpower shortage in rural areas Peace Corps placed several laboratory technologists at Turbah, Mocha, Jibla, Dahmar, Sagayn , Luhayah, and Taiz
To alleviate the manpower shortage in rural areas Peace Corps placed several laboratory technologists at Turbah, Mocha, Jibla, Dahmar, Sagayn , Luhayah, and Taiz.
Laboratory services are fairly limited in the Turbah and Huggariah . There is one hospital at Turbah that was built and financed by the government of Qatar. The hospital was completed in 1986 however it was not until 1989 that the hospital actually opened because water and electrical connections had to be completed. The former hospital at Turbah is now being used as a school. The new building was supplied with many modern medical instruments for example cardiac monitors and the latest birthing equipment. Much of the equipment was little used because Yemeni doctors had little or no training in its use, being used to practicing a more austere form of medicine. Yemeni women generally do not go to a hospital for birthing and prefer a local midwife. The birthing suites at the hospital were rarely used except when a complication arose in the village. Blood bank was equipped with several refrigerated centrifuges, blood refrigerators, and drawing stations, however electricity was turned off to the building at the end of the day so blood could not be banked. Other equipment blood gas analyzers had been unused for so long that the o-rings and seals on the electrodes had dried out. Also calibrated gases for the instrument were unavailable.
The Turbah hospital was however one of the better staffed and operated labs in the country. Turbah is a generally desirable work location for lab technicians since it is a large town and about 1 and a half hour drive from Taiz. It is also considered one of the major hospital and surgical center for the area so it receives preferential Yemen Ministry of Health support for supplies and salary. The laboratory does some basic testing urinalysis, hemoglobin, wbc, ova and parasites, and malaria smears. The lab can also draw blood donors as needed for immediate transfusion. The lab has potential but needs more materials support. Some of the equipment in the lab is now outdated and unusable. The Lab at Turbah needs to have a plan to look at needs and how the lab can meet them with available resources.
In the villages around Turbah there are many government dispensaries and clinics. Staffing at these clinics is poor because doctors, nurses, lab techs prefer to work in towns or the city where there is opportunity for extra income. It is impossible for any medical worker to survive on a government salary alone. For those that do stay in the village they must have some other income generating activity, farming at a minimum or a trade. Some health workers operate pharmacies or work as village midwives.
One health clinic is located at Al Mahata about 6 miles from Turbah it is very typical of the ministry of health clinics. It is located on a dirt road on the edge of Wadi Turbah. It is in an area that has good agricultural land but many of the men in the area work out of town or abroad to earn extra income. The women of the villages do most of the agricultural work. Most of the patients arrive at the clinic by walking, many have walked 6 miles or more to the clinic. Some arrive by shared taxi or pick-up truck. The clinic has no electricity until the evening. Water is available . Al Mahata like most rural clinics is staffed by a ministry of health doctor who would rather be somewhere else. All Yemeni physicians are required to complete 2 years of service in a rural clinic most do it grudgingly. Sometimes a foreign doctor Palestinian, Syrian or Ethiopian may staff the clinic. Physicians treat patients as best they can without any other medical support, ekg , xray or lab tests. Sometimes minor surgery is done.
On the more positive side the clinics provide a vital vaccination service to the villages. Most of these clinics have a propane operated refrigerator to store vaccines. Ministry of Health support up until the 1990 with the MOH meet or exceeded its targets. Over the last few years because of the economic troubles, the Gulf War and the Civil War vaccine coverage has fallen. The Clinics also provide curative treatment for many illnesses that can be handled effectively in this kind of site.
A manpower survey done in 1992 estimated only 10% of government clinics had laboratory workers. To alleviate the manpower shortage in rural areas Peace Corps placed several laboratory technologists at Turbah, Mocha, Jibla, Dahmar, Sagayn , Luhayah, and Taiz. Volunteer medical technicians had two major goals: to perform a range of medical tests and to train Yemeni lab workers in new techniques and lab management. Volunteers saw many unusual diseases like malaria, schistosomiasis and leishmania. Intestinal parasites are common. Many of the common problems that health workers in the US see are encountered in Yemen , for example high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Poor nutrition in mothers and children results in anemia. Traffic accidents and falls were another frequent problem..
One of the most challanging parts of working in the health sector in Yemen is in bridging the gap between our and the Yemens health care systems. Yemeni medicine has only developed over the last 30-40 years and has many foreign influences. Yemeni doctors have been trained in many diffrent countries, western and eastern europe,USA, Arab and Asian. Their medical treatment and philosophy varies.
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Most recent revision Thursday, June 27, 1996