Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Reopening: Protection, Prevention and Professional Care

The CDCA has been closed for several weeks now, but today we are opening back up for several reasons:

  1. Although the confirmed cases of COVID-19 are going down in Managua, we have jointly decided with the leaders of our different projects that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time.
  2. Our patients need the clinic in Nueva Vida open for consistent care; they are asking for it; and they need basic services as well as some preventive care.
  3. And many of our staff are not sheltering in place but going to their second jobs, traveling to help family members, and going to the market to feed their families,  
    • Rogelio, Pedro and Lucas have been working on the organic cooperative business... fixing machinery in the processing plant and a tractor.
    • Our doctors have been working for MINSA and in private clinics.
    • And our office administrator has been in government offices for Rotary.
Therefore we are reopening.

We are instituting more stringent health protections:

  • All of our staff will wear masks when working with others or indoors.
  • Most people who come to deliver and have business to transact are wearing masks or we will provide them with one, and all our entrances have hand washing stations.
  • All the clinic staff will wear both masks and face shields.
  • All patients will wear masks, be checked in under an awning, sit in designated areas, and wash hands before having any contact with our staff.
  • We are having more masks sewn with a new design that includes filter inserts.  We are having more gowns made for regular changing by our nurses, doctors, and dental staff.
  • Exam rooms will be disinfected between patients.
  • We will only do dental procedures that will not involve spraying of water or any water droplets in the air.
  • We will offer designated preventive services on designated days in locations without sick patients.  These will include:
    • PAPs
    • Birth control including implants
    • ultrasounds
    • eye exams and glasses
  • We will disinfect before these patients arrive, they will also wear masks.
  • We have oximeters and non-contact thermometers now and can get more if we need them.
  • We are requiring staff members who feel sick to not come to work and to go see a doctor.  They all have health insurance through the government program.
  • We have had our staff sign a memo with these new instructions.
This will be difficult but we have to protect the staff and our patients from transmission of COVID-19 as much as we have the power to do so.

Fortunately masks etc., in Nicaragua have not become some silly, insane political battle.  It is common sense, which is why medical people of all sorts wear them.  Also, people who argue that scientists first said not to wear masks should know science changes all the time as new facts are discovered.  We should have learned in middle school about the scientific method.*

We will keep you posted on how things are going and if conditions change and we decide we have to close again. 

*a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses. (Oxford English Dictionary)

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