An NGO trip to the Tighza valley with Baraka.
Following on from an inspirational talk from one of our EM consultants who has been involved with NGO work for many years, I organized a trip to Morocco with Baraka drawing on both my EM and GP experience.
The Tighza valley in Morocco is set up in the Atlas mountains. Located 5h (4×4) from Marrakech and 2h from Ourzazate with the nearest hospital, the trip up there was a stunning drive with glimpses of snow depiste it being 48C on our arrival in Marrakech.
Once we had arrived we were met by the friendly people from Homestays Morocco . I stayed at their ethical Riad and was able to see how they run, manage and contribute to projects in the village.
The patient population was that of Berber families who due to their religion do not smoke or drink and are very active physically working from early in the morning in the fields set on a steep mountainside. They would not routinely attend GPs for check-ups and often did not know their own age. The languages spoken are Arabic and Teschliechiet and I had a very able translator who also explained to me more about the culture.
Pathology varied from acute conditions such as D&V, pain due to dental decay and also a pregnant lady who felt her baby was not moving. The local village midwife is extremely experienced, not ever having lost a baby, and was best placed to refer on and carry on the management of this case.
However, a lot of the patients I saw were suffering from more chronic conditions such as cataracts, and Baraka is able to offer them part-funding for these life changing operations. Being armed with just a stethescope and pen torch plus the obligatory BP monitor, it was back to basics medicine. Emergency medicine is a great preparation for keeping a global vision of the patient and making the most of whatever resources you find in front of you.
Unexpectedly I think it was the public health projects which were developed on the spot when faced with such extreme tooth decay in young children which may prove to be the most effective.
Once the local children had looked into my son’s regularly brushed mouth and seen that not only did he have all his teeth, nut more importantly that they didn’t hurt, the way was open for some teeth brushing classes.
Burns are another problem due to the mint tea kettles and hot stoves in the winter. We changed the use of a well known sura from the Koran to counting to 60 twenty times for the children.It was an amazing trip for everyone involved and should you want to become involved with medical or other trips please contact Baraka directly. They offer many opportunities for all types of volunteering. And of course it is not all fun and no play…see Homestays for all the details about trekking, mountain biking, photography and a long etc.