We arrived yesterday (Monday) after almost 3 days of travelling. After checking into our guesthouse on Lake Tana (a backpackers hostel!) we spent the rest of the day at the clinic cleaning. The building we were assigned had not been used for several months – dead bugs, cobwebs, cockroaches, left over supplies, dirty floors, etc. So, we all went to work and in a few hours we made a difference and felt ready for setup the next day.
Upon arrival at the clinic, we were greeted by several families with their children eagerly waiting to be seen. We also had a tour of the adjoining hospital – the only hospital in western Ethiopia. We saw the waiting room – at least 100 people waiting to be seen by a doctor. All had appointments but would have to come back every day for several days before they could be seen. The physician situtation is very poor here – a brain drain occurs. They are educated in Ethiopia but leave for greener pastures abroad. The emergency room is one single room. The pediatric ward was very crowded – 6 to 8 children in one small room – one infant dying of malaria.
There is also a Fistula hospital next door which we have not yet toured but hope to visit in the coming week. It is staffed by Autralians and funded initially by Oprah. We will report back on this visit.
Today was our first clinic day. Lots of technology issues initally but by the end of the day we had successfully assessed and slated for surgey 32 children over the next few days.
We have an incredible team; good comraderie. Out of a team of 29, 23 are Canadians. We would not have accomplished this without the help of eager young Rotoract members (Rotarians under 30 years of age) who have acted as our translators and liaised with hospital administration.
Tomorrow is our first surgery day with 13 patients. We get an early start at 6:30 am.
As technology permits, we will try to post some pictures.