- The appearence of symptoms or a change in behaviour are warning signals indicating that you should go to the health centre to be examined by someone from the medical staff as soon as possible.
- The medical staff alone have the ability to recognize a disease and prescribe the right medication if necessary.
- They can also show you how to take the medication and give general advice as to how protect oneself against diseases.
Going to the health centre is the right thing to do !
It is also the responsabiity of the family and close relatives to see and recognize the symptoms of a disease in a person :
Beyond clearly visible symptoms it is very important to pay attention to less obvious symptoms or behaviour changes such as a loss of appetite, a difficulty in seeing, hearing or speaking, restless sleep, repeated losses of attention or brief and repeated losses of consciousness.
Sometimes the person experiencing these symptoms is not really aware of them or thinks that « it will pass». It is then the family’s responsibility and role to make the decision to bring the person to the health centre.
Even when there are no symptoms of a disease the parents of small children need to pay regular visits to the health centre to check if the children are putting on enough weight, growing and developping well, and to give them the necessary vaccines.
A TYPICAL VISIT TO THE HEALTH CENTRE
- THE MEDICAL HISTORY
If the medical staff have the the patient’s medical record or health booklet they will start by cheking it. These documents will provide precious information about the patient’s health problems as well as the medication that has been prescribed in the past. This is what we call the medical history. This information will help making a diagnosis (identifying a disease) and prescribing the right medication.
- QUESTION PERIOD
The medical staff ask the patient and the people who have come with him or her precise questions to collect information regarding the appearance and evolution of the symptoms. It is very important to tell the medical staff all the symptoms you have noticed to help them identify precisely the disease you have contracted.
- THE MEDICAL EXAMINATION
The medical staff examine the patient who is generally lying on the examination table :
- The member of the medical staff will observe the visible symptoms indicated by the patient and feel the corresponding parts of his of her body.
- He will also examine other areas of the body to look for other potential symptoms unnoticed by the patient : he listens to the hearbeat, the breathing, may look at the bottom of the throat, the ears and take a look at the nails and skin. If the medical staff considers it necessary they can ask for further examination as a blood test or an X-ray (a technique enabling to take pictures of the human body in order to see the skeleton).
- THE DIAGNOSIS
After having done all the necessary medical tests the medical staff will make a diagnosis, that is to say they will identify the disease responsible for the symptoms and its level of severity.
- THE PRESCRIPTION
The medical staff tells the patient which treatment and medical care they will have to undergo : the names of the various medications of course but also how and when they will have to take them (before, during of after the meals), the exact times to take the medications and the lenght of the treatment.
They will also precise the evolution of the disease towards recovery and tell the patient when they should come back to the health centre during the treatment for a check-up.
They should also give general advice regarding food, rest, the possible daily care and how to protect oneself against diseases.
The prescription is written on a sheet of paper and should be readable. If the medical staff have the patient’s medical record or health booklet they will be able to write down all the details of the visit to the health centre to refer to during the next visit. It is therefore very important to keep these documents and bring them back at each visit.
THE PRESCRIBED MEDICATION DOSE MUST NOT BE MODIFIED (INCREASED OR DIMINISHED) WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE FROM THE MEDICAL STAFF.