Port Resolution 4-27 to 4-29

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Mon 4 May 2015 00:03
This is a report from our first landfall in Tanna, it is written by Shannon, one of the doctors, gives you a good feel on how different some places can be. Where we are now the need is bigger. Right now about 80 people have gathered in the rain (yes it is bad weather with hard winds and pouring rains, imagine living under a some kind of roof, no walls and try to stay warm) by the beach and road waiting for food to arrive with a truck. The doctors are out in the mud somewhere, they just called in with the radio and told us that the truck got stuck and now they are trying to walk to the village. At the same time Im having school with our kids and intend to go ashore after lunch if weather gets better.

Port Resolution is a nicely protected anchorage. Nancy is a retired preventative care nurse. She worked for many years in Lenakel, then retired and moved back to her village. In 2011 a nice new brick facility was built by the Adventist church. She is a member of the church also. They had no one to staff the new facility, so she volunteered. For the first 3 years she worked full time, now she works Tuesday and Wednesday. She was very organized, pleasant and helpful and she has an assistant. She seemed very confident, welcomed us to work with her in the clinic, but was not feeling people were terribly ill, nor was she overwhelmed. We got the impression that our time would be better spent elsewhere and let her continue to manage her clinic.

Again, this wonderful woman is caring for her population with no pay. I'm starting to think that the population may be more likely to seek health and medical education training if there were some incentive to do so, like a paid position once the training is done. These patients rarely see a doctor, nurses and nursing aids care for most clinic patients, lab tests are never done, and medications are standardized bulk from the government. They have no creams to treat rashes, so our medical units with creams were very useful. They do have some local knowledge of what roots, leaves and other "local medicines" that they can use. I don't know how useful those are or if the body heals itself and they give credit to the roots, like a placebo effect. But they are also maybe mis-applied. A local woman has a tumor the size of an 8 month baby for almost 10 years, but says it was bigger, they recommended surgery, but she wanted to try local medicines. The swelling went down, but she still has the tumor. I still recommended surgery. So the tumor doesn't go away, only the symptom of swelling improves.

She did ask us to go to the village (a 10 minute walk) to assess a woman who had a stroke a couple of years ago and was now regaining some motor skills. The three providers walked to the village to evaluate the woman. She was now walking, so we found her at her daughter's house visiting. Kim showed her some exercises she can do for strengthening and increasing mobility. She returned in the afternoon with a device to use to stimulate around the ear. This woman was somehow related to Nancy.

Supplies - Nancy has the usual government provided medications, but no creams and few dressing supplies. We gave her a medical unit and showed her what the creams were for. She initially indicated she needed azithromycin since she recently did a YAWS clinic and was out, but it turned out it had been delivered the day prior. She indicated she needed albuterol tablets and inhalers also, she missed her order due to the cyclone. She gets her medications from Dr. Moise in Lenakel, so it is not too hard for her. There are 2 trucks in Port Resolution and 1-2 times per week they drive to Lenakel. Our men were able to meet with Dr. Moise and get her Salbuterol inhalers and pills when they went to immigration.
We then borrowed from Nancy the Salbuterol, penicillin, magnesium, paracetamol, azithromycin, and tetracycline eye ointment to do our rural clinic. It was very useful, we used some of each of them. We made a few "to go" bags for ourselves in order to be prepared for upcoming clinics in Hebron and Launapakil. The following morning I brought the medications back to her, including the salbuterol inhalers and pills that she had requested, and thanked her very much for her help. She appreciated the help with taking care of the people in need. She gave me a beautiful woven purse and a few green beans from her garden. I tried not to take the green beans, I suggested she give them to the villagers, but she said she had been and that she was very proud of her "hurricane beans", the first ones to grow after the cyclone. They were the best I have ever had! Very sweet!! While I was returning the medications, we were transferring supplies from Lil' Explorers to Chez Nous so that LEX would be ready to load up in Lenakel. A bag of rice dropped into the ocean in transfer. We brought that bag in to Nancy as a gift. It wasn't too wet, but we told her what had happened and suggested it get eaten today, shared amongst the village. Her niece told me that everyone had rice and meat for dinner the night before and were so thankful for it!!! She asked how to cook the split peas and we reviewed to boil them for 45 minutes and not add salt to the water until after it was cooked. She said the mothers in town were asking and that she would spread the word. I told her they had vitamins and fiber for them and could add flavor to the rice.
So, in summary, Port Resolution is relatively well stocked, has a nice building, has a volunteer staff 2 days per week, and the population appears to be generally healthy. They get fresh water that they pump up from a spring. They are rebuilding houses, no deaths or significant injuries in the village during the cyclone, some people weathered the cyclone in the brick school and/or church.

Interesting story, Stanley, the local man who "looks after the village" has 3 girls ages 6, 3.5, and 3 months. He was with family in a thatch house. It was beginning to blow down, so he made the call that they needed to go to a solid building. They had to run across a field to get there. He wrapped his 3 month old in his jacket to protect her from debris and as he ran it was chaos, so he tripped and fell. But he covered and protected her, after the debris blew by, he got up and finished his run to the other shelter. There they were OK, but very scared.
Another story, the girl on the beach today who asked us to go to Lavis for medical help said she was in a cave for it. Someone came and told them it was unsafe in the cave, they had to go. They went up to a house. The house blew down and she and her mom were sooo scared and screaming and panicked! They ran back to the cave and were OK there for the rest of it. It sounds like as structures were lost, there was a lot of relocating, chaos, and panic.
5 people died in Tanna I was told. 2 of them in a brick school house when the front wall blew in on them. I wonder if this was the school house where we did our clinic in White Sands. The ocean side wall was blown down. It fits the description.