Dear Donors, Dear Friends
Towards the end of 2021, after a break of nearly 18 months, Dr Georges Kohut was finally able to lead another successful orthopaedic mission to Bwindi. Upon our arrival, we found that one of our dearest wishes had been granted: the container with our latest shipment had finally made it, just two days before us. It had taken almost 6 months of efforts to get the shipment to the hospital.
This windfall enabled us to put in place more efficient procedures in the operating theatre, as the donated fluoroscopy machine (C-shaped arch) was made to function right from the start, thanks to the work of Samuel Grenier and Philippe Besson).
The container also included a mobile X-ray machine, which was fortunate, because the machine on-site was not functional: The work required to repair it proved to be much greater than which had been anticipated. The surgical sets, also in the shipment, were used from the very first operation.
We also arrived with two defibrillators in our luggage. This equipment, donated by the Fribourg Cantonal Hospital, will be useful in the 5 bed, recently built, intensive care unit. Unfortunately the machines currently only “speak French” but we will be able to remedy this, as the multilingual cards which were missing, have just arrived !
In the intensive care unit, the electric beds, which had been sent from a country where the current is 110v, had to be adapted to 230v by Philippe, in order to make them usable!
Instructions on the method of use of the C-arch were given by Samuel and practical lessons were given to the two radiology technicians, operating room staff and doctors.
There were approximately 120 orthopaedic consultations and 39 operations carried out under the direction of Dr Georges Kohut: these cases were particularly difficult and the majority of the patients were young (29 patients were under 30 years old).
This confirmed to us the importance and especially the usefulness of our missions.
Unfortunately, our young sponsored orthopaedic student Asaph, was unable to join us in Bwindi. However, we were pleased to meet up with him in Kampala at Mulago University Hospital where he was able to show us around. This huge hospital has the only other C-arch in the country, but their one and only CT-scanner had been out of order for several months!!!!
On the other hand, Dianah, whom we support in her physiotherapy training, participated very actively in the mission, taking advantage of the presence of Marie Jordan, the occupational therapist who accompanied us for the first time: Nearly 100 patients were taken care of, from post-operative re-education to re-adaptation of the handicapped to active life.
We have decided to support the training of Eunith, a talented young woman whom we have known for many years from the operating theatre. Starting with a basic education, she has managed to pass her nursing school entrance exams, then her assistant nurse exams and now she wishes to complete her training to become a fully registered nurse.
We are happy to note that our efforts are bearing fruit: In the operating theatre, both the organisation and material storage has improved significantly, as well as the flow and postoperative follow-up of patients. When there is a doubt, WhatsApp remains our valued partner for requests for advice!
Equipment is for the most part well maintained although some local repair attempts have failed including the repair of the dermatome used for skin grafts. Fortunately it could be salvaged thanks to the ingenious construction of a battery by Philippe Besson. A burn patient was able to benefit from its use.
It remains difficult to properly manage stocks: the staff cannot bring themselves to throw away unusable equipment, always hoping for a miracle repair!
Staff quality has also improved remarkably since the development of the nursing school which is managed by the hospital. The place swarms with students … and the school repeatedly wins national awards for excellence. Link – https://www.unsbwindi.ac.ug/
We have been able to help two associations with whom we are friends. They are notably responsible for hospitals in the DRC and Madagascar. We helped by donating a mobile radiology machine, medicines, surgical sets and the cost of a container.
Our next challenge will be played out in December 2021. We will be leaving on a two week mission of urological surgery thanks to the participation of two urologists from Basel, Professor Thomas Gasser and Dr Patrick Maurer.