Lionel Caetano António Domingo is a General Medicine Technician working at the health unit in the 24 de Julho accomodation centre in Beira.
"I ended up taking care of everything."
Have you been here since the beginning of the disaster?
Yes, when the cyclone happened, since I’m a local from the neighbourhood, on the first day I ended up taking refuge here too. I was on the third floor. There, I and my family stayed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Then we managed to get a hold of metal roof sheets and to put them back. Since we have a young child, we couldn’t stay where we were because at the beginning the hygiene wasn’t very good, so we managed to go home. That was what I remember the most.
And now, out of good will I am here since the 18th practically. Originally, I came here to improve because I was waiting for my final exam.
I’m a General Medicine Technician student and the next week I ended up doing the exam and I passed. In the beginning, it was me and a group of students from the Instituto Ciências de Saúde da Beira. Maybe because I lived close by and because of the material that was coming in and I was around, they left earlier and I ended up staying.
This is my first work experience.
Since you are from the neighbourhood, have you had to treat people you know?
Yes, I ended up treating my own son who is turning two today. In fact, our family was staying here at the centre because our house was damaged.
He had a cough and fever and we did the TDR, which is the malaria test. It was negative, so we treated him and thank God now he’s better.
Who has been the most challenging patient so far?
It was when night fell on the 20th at 9 pm and a patient came in. It was someone from this building who had diarrhea and vomiting.
We didn’t have any light or power. In her case, she was dehydrated and he had to canulate her due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Without light it was really difficult. It was with help from the others living here from the neighbourhood that I managed. I asked them to bring me a lanterna and then I was able to find a vein and give her the IV drip. Thank God now she’s better.
What are the next biggest challenges?
On top of being a General Medicine Technician, I ended up taking responsibility for other areas. We didn’t have a pharmacist, we didn’t have an administrator to manage the hospital, nor a data manager or someone to take care of our stocked material. We have a lack of health workers in preventative medicine to do infection prevention and hygiene.
Without all of that, I ended up taking care of everything. So, this is a very good experience professionally-speaking but it is also a major challenge. Nevertheless, it is very good work and I like what I’m doing here.
What do you want to do in future?
In the future I would like to do surgery, to become a medical surgeon.
Cyclone Idai Communications Consultant
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