Visiting Ambureni Dispensary

Many of us have a Utopian idea of what a government run,

single-payer healthcare system would look like. Although

a poor country like Tanzania is not a good comparison to

what we might see in the US, it can provide a cautionary tale.

- September 11, 2018:

You may remember that we built a new dispensary for the 20,000 residents of Ambureni Ward in 2016. The contract that the government makes with communities is that if you build the facility, they will provide a doctor and nurse, furniture and equipment, and necessary medical supplies.

When I was here last year, I was not able to visit the dispensary so I was very excited to do so on Friday.

Here is what the doctor showed me:

3 shiny new beds with no mattresses

Apparently, it is BYO mattress or other bedding if you are coming to give birth. And yes, there are multiple births here every month.

An examination room with 1 chair

Who sits? Doctor or patient?

A ton of painkillers and enough vaccines, but no antibiotics

I guess if you have an infection and can't afford to buy meds from a private pharmacy, you just take painkillers and hope for the best.

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First off, let me say this-

I love Dr. Goodrick. She is dedicated, open, clearly an advocate for her patients, and we are lucky she was assigned to our post. She is immensely grateful to Pamoja Project for the dispensary. And, in line with our beliefs, she is running a series of family planning clinics here next month in conjunction with the international organization, Marie Stopes. 

But there is much we can do to make her job easier. I am collecting the costs of the items that Dr. Goodrick believes are essential, and will provide opportunities for you to participate in the coming months.

The US healthcare system leaves much to be desired. Let's make sure that if we get a single payer system in the US, the budget includes mattresses.

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