I have a funny little story for you concerning our hectic morning this morning: Operation Moses Basket. Yes, I named it this….you will understand in a minute.
First, you know how unicef and America (ameriaids) gives money to countries in Africa for needy things like vaccine…..you wanna know what’s really done with it by the governments it’s given to? Of course you do….I did to. Well today I found out first hand….glad I had been warned prior to this even. The government gets a massive amount of fun life saving medicines like vaccines. They they give them out to seemingly untrained, uncaring, uneducated individuals whose sole responsibility is to go around the country and deliver these medicines. Sounds good to start with huh? Cept you wanna know what they do with them…..try to get rid of them as fast as possible so they can be done with it all (like a policeman handing out speeding tickets at the end of the month to fill his quota). Every 6 months they come to our center (and others I’m sure) with a new vaccine of choice and ask us to round up all the kids and start sticking them with needles. Now, I’m all for vaccines. (well most of them). I believe they do save lives and ward of potential debilitating and/or life threatening diseases that have killed many and were epidemics many many years ago. Here, in 3rd world countries, these diseases have not been irradicated as vaccines are not available to everyone. Children still do die every day from childhood illnesses; completely preventable…enter the efforts of America and Unicef.
Yesterday, a nice young lady came from the health department and wanted to mass immunize all the kids 6 months-5 years for sarampo (measles), give vit A (helps with eye sight and respiratory function), and mebendazole (which deworms the kids). We deworm our kids (the entire center including the staff) every 3 months…the gentle way…small doses for the babies twice a day for 3 days….and it still causes stomach pain and diarrhea. What do they give….the entire 3 day regimen in one giant pill…really fun for my two year olds. Vit A we like…..i’m excited abou the free medicine to help my kids. The sarmapo-they have all received at 9 months as part of the recommended schedule by the health department themselves. They even have fancy yellow cards stamped and signed by the health department that say so. So we told them that all our kids just got dewormed 2 weeks ago along with the entire center and they have all had the sarampo…..and they said….no problem, they can just get it again. I love this idea….I mean come to the BH and give 35 kids shots they don’t need, induce fever, pain, tears, and diarrhea…..I love it! especially since they don’t NEED it! So we devised a plan….sure, come tomorrow after brkfst at 8:30am. We then gathered the calvary and put our plan into action. I went through my records and pulled all the under two year olds, and a few that are over 2 but are just now finishing their immunizations and just received the sarampo vaccine two months ago. I then formulate hiding places for all the tots and babies on the base (in missionaries houses). We then gather all the kids together and cram them in one room so they will look like more kids than they actually are. Then we bring some over that are too old from Tracey’s toddler house to fill in the gaps and shut the door to the baby baby room where all the empty cribs are. We keep the 3 youngest there that have just made 6 months but look like they are 2 months old and simply state…they are too young to get it. When they arrive, I have all the yellow cards lined up for them so they can document it….plead that they don’t need to be tortured with the mebendazole….do they listen….no….do they even want to see the yellow cards….no….do they even want to know the name of the kids….no….they just want us to parade them into a room, drop the vit a into their mouth, give them a giant pill, and stick a nasty needle into their arm one by one…then mark a black mark on a specific fingernail so no kids gets immunized twice (Funny, I’ve never seen a kid that would offer up their other arm…and they are all getting vaccinated twice cause you are here doing it). So while they were busy, we opps…forgot to send a few other kids in…..and claimed we were all done. You will all be happy to know that I enticed all the kids into the dreaded scary room with promises of doces (sweets)….nevermind the other kids screaming and crying leaving the room…there are sweets in there. It worked….kinda…..but all the kids we hid (just as moses was saved by being hid in a reed basket and sent down river)….were saved and unharmed. Mission complete and successful.
They couldn’t go out into the bush and immunized kids that never see a doctor…..no….gotta come to the shiny children’s center that has nurses and doctors on staff and stick the kids. Sounds like a way to irradicated these diseases and produce a healthy Mozambique…..