We were off to a slow start upon our arrival but we have ended with a BANG. We have processed over 91 patients and performed 58 surgeries and 62 procedures. We only had 2 operating rooms available to us and have had to work around the biggest Ethiopian religious holiday on September 27. It was the “Finding of the True Cross,” known as the Meskel.
Many families visit their extended families and leave the city prior to the holiday.
We received patients from several sources of referrals. Thanks to Yigermal, we saw 32 from Bahir Dar, some of whom he brought to Addis by minibus. While in Addis, he prepared 3 days of radio ads for us, resulting in several patients coming to the clinic. The Rotaract members posted similar notes on Facebook, which also generated patients for us to see. The Addis 8 YMCA’s also generated patients and created a registration center in Addis. The Cure Hospital was very helpful and provided over 30 patients. Dr. Eric Gokcen, the hospital Medical Director, found another 18 through his contacts at the Save the Children foundation.
This has been a collaborative effort among many organizations and people. Special thanks goes out to Yirgamal a Rotaract from Bahir Dar, Eshetu from the Addis Ababa East Rotary Club and their respective members. We have a very special thank you for the Jolyana Rotaract Club of Addis Ababa, especially to Anteneh Getachew, the coordinator of their volunteers. They also translated for us. Without them, we could not have performed adequate assessments and given clear instructions for patient care upon discharge.
There are a variety of reasons why some of the children were not accepted for surgery. Most were due to current illnesses, such as chest and other infections, malnutrition and low body weights. Other complications included neurological or cardiac conditions, all conditions beyond our control and unsafe for an operation.
Fortunately, the Cure Hospital has a resident pediatrician, so they are able to refer these children to other care. Those with lip and palate conditions that are not suitable for surgery at this time, will hopefully be seen by the next medical team, arriving in November to the hospital.