Friday, January 23, 2009
Rounds on the Kala-Azar Ward
I round with the team in the kala-azar ward every morning, unless I need to travel to one of the distant clinic sites. The kala-azar ward in Hajipur hospital has 55 beds. In the high season--when it is hot, before the monsoons-- the ward is often full. The patients rarely complain. They don’t tell me they have pain or vomiting or diarrhea or cough unless I ask them specifically about each symptom. In addition to kala-azar, we see a lot of malnutrition (body mass index < 16), severe anemia (Hemoglobin < 4), as well as protozoal and helminth (worm) infections. We also see plenty of tuberculosis/kala-azar coinfection and HIV/kala-azar coinfection.