Orthopaedic mission in October 2023

Every mission is a discovery, an adventure, a challenge.

This time, 9 of us set off, and no one was idle.

The orthopaedic team consisted of Dr Georges Kohut, who was on his 5th and last mission, and Dr Inès Raabe, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, who was on her first!

There were at least 70 patient consultations, not counting those who were seen between operations, as emergencies or who snatched up a doctor in passing.

There were 33 operations for 23 patients, with several cases being repeated 2 or 3 times for wounds that needed to be debrided. Dr Asaph Owamukamaeli, whom we sponsored for his 4 years as an orthopaedic surgeon, intervened or assisted in all the operations, despite his new role as hospital director!

Those for whom an operation was not justified or who could not be operated on for infrastructure reasons were most often referred to physiotherapy: Gerson Avendaño helped Diana, who had returned from the physiotherapist training course that we supported. There was also Jackie, a very proactive nurse who had replaced Diana during her courses, and whom we plan to support for an identical training course. The physiotherapy department looked after 58 patients, both those who were not benefiting from an operation and those who were post-operative. A well-equipped room was built for this purpose. Gerson has written a report on this, which you can read on the website.

The operative cases were very demanding, especially as the number of patients with osteomyelitis is increasing all the time. In these cases, Dr Veronique Erard, assisted by two laboratory assistants specialising in microbiology, Nathalie Privet and Laetitia Baeriswyl, was of vital importance. The aim was to obtain reliable microbiology results: identification of the germ and antibiogram. This was not the case during the last orthopaedic mission in October 2022. Nathalie and Laetitia have produced a report, which is also available on the site.

Dr Georges Kohut is now somewhat tougher… or almost, since the suffering of those we can’t help is difficult to accept. Dr Inès Raabe found it much harder to accept our helplessness at first. She was a great help and proved perfectly adaptable to the working conditions, not to mention a skill that is undoubtedly already recognised at Fribourg Cantonal Hospital. She’s ready for the next assignment, without Georges who’s retiring… and that’s a real gift!

The radiology team is the same: Samuel Grenier, who has been with us for over 10 years, and myself.
Radiology is another challenge since the Bwindi hospital received a digital radiology machine with archiving: it’s not nirvana, as I expected! The machine was damaged during transport, with a bent grid, which explains the less-than-perfect images. Patients’ names change according to the department where their name is registered… and the archives refuse to include their age or to accept control X-rays under the same file by accepting the new X-ray date… and that’s not all.
We now need to computerise the names of patients arriving at the hospital, so that the error in their name and age is at least the same everywhere!

Philippe Besson remains the great hero that everyone looks forward to every time: I can’t list everything that Philippe Besson has repaired: ECGs, electric beds in intensive care, screens…. the most important is the repair of the Phillips X-ray room, which is 40 years old, and which we don’t want to let die. The day the digitised room breaks down, a room donated by an American foundation and which comes from the United States, I believe that the good old machine will have its raison d’être.

At the end of our stay, the hospital rewarded us with two tokens of appreciation: for Georges and for Africomed.

And we brought them T-shirts with our logo!

FS , octobre 2023