Life Medical Zambia

Murphy’s Law

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong”

Kakumbi Rural Health Centre has been going through some lean times recently. The lack of medical supplies is very frustrating for a doctor. I feel like a soldier going into battle without armaments. Even simple pain killers, such as paracetamol (what is called “Tylenol” in the USA) have been in short supply. I guessed as much before I came, so I loaded up with medication to distribute when necessary.

Cinderella never lost one of these

I was just coming to the last of the paracetamol which had been donated by the lovely Neeta in Leicester, when the health centre received a shipment of medication. Apart from a huge carton of male condoms, I could see a few thousand tablets of paracetamol. Wonderful, I thought.

The mannequins have curves in all the right places for local ladies

At this Monday’s team meeting I learned that Zambian Government inspectors had examined some drugs. Two of the batches of paracetamol from one generic manufacturer were found to be below their quality standards.

“So were the paracetamol tablets we received from the defective batches?” I asked.

“No,” replied the nurse in charge. “But the government decided to withdraw all the paracetamol just in case.”

“But that means we won’t have any again!”

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Warthogs are great. They can erect their hairy mane to a Mohican style. Their trotters are so dainty that they seem to be too small to carry their weight. And I love the wing of white hair sprouting from the cheeks – looks like a florid Edwardian moustache.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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