Merranda Holmes, MD: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital IM/Pediatrics PGY3

Cameroon: April 2017

 My experiences at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon have undoubtedly been some of the most impactful in my career thus far. I spent my days running the pediatric and internal medicine wards, rounding in the ICU, and helping with difficult clinic patients brought to the wards throughout the day. Medical experiences were extensive, including managing peritoneal dialysis in several children with complicated malaria, TB and cryptococcal meningitis, countless AIDs complications, Burkitt’s lymphoma, breast cancer, repercussions of “ country medicine”, and of course, managing constipation, hypertension and diabetes in creative ways. There are always surprises at the hospital entrance, given people journey up to 9 hours to seek care with us, often in critical condition. Peer-to-peer consults over puzzling cases make things even more interesting as well. It was also great teaching national residents and nursing staff at the bedside and in formal lectures. Getting to know everyone has been a blessing, as healthcare at Mbingo is a greatly collaborative process. Learning the culture and some of the language is also key to better relate to patients and help with extremely difficult social situations--namely, palliative care and child abuse, two of my interests both at home and abroad. I am helping with a new project we hope will identify and relieve child abuse and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the Northwest Region. This will be a focus for me while preparing to return in January 2018.