Niger is not known to have a strong health system.
Therefore, when my friend Fanta became pregnant I asked her about her plans for medical care during her pregnancy and delivery. Here would be a great opportunity to understand the health system!
Last week I took Fanta to her regular appointment with the gynecologist at a local clinic.
I learned right away that Fanta wanted to avoid the local hospital and maternity unit due to apparent negligences at those places. Although it is much cheaper to go to those places, she and her husband have been saving extra money so she could go to this clinic.
I was pleasantly surprised! What a nice, clean clinic!
We left early in the morning so she could be first in line, if at all possible. I learned that one doesn’t simply make an appointment at a clinic like this. The patient must arrive and pay and get in line, it is a “take a number” system. (There is a separate part of the clinic that is for emergencies.)
So, arriving at 6:30 a.m., Fanta received her “number one” status and we waited until 8:45 for the doctor to arrive.
Thankfully, this was the day after a big rain, so the temperatures were lovely. We had a chance to catch-up on on our lives with a wonderful breeze keeping us refreshed. This was a beautiful gift to me.
After the encouraging report from the doctor, she needed to go to the laboratory for urine and blood samples. It was going to take some extra time to get the results, so we decided to walk to the pharmacy and buy the necessary prenatal vitamins.
Here is a 15-second video I took while waiting outside of the pharmacy. I am including it here so you can see how life is going on rather normally here in Niger during the pandemic. (However, at the end of the video, you see someone washing their hands at a little washing station – this is something new to life here!)
Upon returning to the clinic, she received her lab results and we waited some more, in order to talk with the doctor about them. She needs to gain more weight, but besides that, all is well!
Their baby girl is going to arrive sometime in early June, according to their calculations. During our conversations, she shared with me the name they have chosen for their baby girl – but it is a secret so don’t even try to persuade me to tell you!
Thanks for “going to the clinic” with us! Although one must plan to be waiting around a lot, the clinic was a positive experience. I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into life here. Please pray for Fanta and their baby.