Monday, May 2, 2011

Field Trip: Lundu

Been planning to post this from Sarawak but couldn’t get a proper internet connection. So hello people! How was your week? Mine was fun and exciting because I was in Lundu, Sarawak for a field work!

For the new project, we need to get malaria sample as many as we could. Malaysia is currently in pre-elimination phase of the disease, so total number of cases is decreasing. Most cases reported are from rural region in Sabah and Sarawak – especially in palm oil/rubber plantation and logging area. And based on the malaria statistic, we’ve decided to try our luck in Lundu since they have the highest number of cases up till Mac 2011.

We had an opportunity to tag along with the Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah (PKD) team from Lundu to do b;ood screening for malaria infection. PKD do this screening routine for each village in the district once in every 3 months. Normally they will take blood smear and bring back to the lab to read under microscope. If positive, they have to go back to the village again to give medicine and do the fogging. But this time, we brought along our rapid test diagnostic kit (RTD) which could detect the malaria infection in just 15 minutes. Fast and efficient but very costly (about Rm12.00 per test) which is why they stick to blood smear procedure. So basically, once we found individual with malaria infection, blood will be drawn from the patient and will be taken back to our lab station in PKD Lundu for further test.

Okay, let’s skip all the technical part. The distances from Pekan Lundu to the village are about 14 to 30 km. We also went to logging camp which took 30 minutes ride on a bumpy-potholes-uneven road. Normally, we went to the village around 2 pm and back around 9 pm every day. On the fifth day, we have screened more than 500 peoples. And guessed what? No positive case!

Anyway, I’m gonna share with you guys some of my fave photo that we took.

Setting up the 'lab'

Walking from house to house in the village

Brave boy self-volunteered for blood smear. His friends are watching with curiosity :D
Making thick blood smear
Thick and thin blood smear

Me taking blood for RTD

The RTD kit

IMR team: Prem, Dr Noor Rain and Umi

Setting up the station at the back of our hi-lux

In logging camp

Good response from the felda's employee. They really concern about their health :D

Chatting up a bit while waiting for the Felda employee to come back from their work

Working at night~

I learned a few words that we often use like baik means don’t want and lawa means arrogant. Most of the children will yelled baiiikkk!!! when we said we want to prick their finger, kekekek. I love the way they said auk meaning yes. It reminds me of my cat, April :D 

And oh, before we went to Lundu, we were afraid that we won’t be able to get the food like in Semenanjung, so we bought a lot of Maggi, Campbell soup and Ayam Brand’s tuna because we thought it will be like in Kalabakan, Sabah where we couldn’t get those brands. But it turns out that the mini market in Lundu has those brands too! And I actually thought that I could lose some weight but guess what? Lundu have this night market that opens every night and there was this one stall that has excellent cooks. So I end up having heavy dinner every night!

Nasi lemak for breakfast!

The PKD team were so relieve when we got zero case on the last day. Because this mean they have a great control strategy. Good for them but bad for us. We need at least 5 positive cases in 1000 population screened and based on what we got in Lundu, it almost impossible to get a sample. The next trip will be in Kota Marudu, Sabah and I hope it won't be another mission impossible. So wish me luck!