I love this post by a friend of mine on the ship. Really, really good.
In a few hours I will board a plane bound for this nation’s capital, Brazzaville. Tomorrow at this time we will be in the thick of our screening there. It has been a busy, challenging, and tense last few weeks organizing for this screening. It has taken nearly the same energy and effort that we put into our “main” screenings except that this one is happening over 1000 km from the ship. Roughly 60 of us from Mercy Ships will be there to screen around 1000 patients that have been pre-registered by the government (with our guidance). It turns out we are struggling to find enough patients in some specialties so far so everyone’s hope is that the right patients enter through the gate tomorrow morning. We will see…
Germs are bad (most of the time).
I want to tell you about my friend Christina Fast and the work she has been doing here in Congo and West Africa for the past few years. Christina is a sterile processing technician from Calgary, Alberta who is passionately working to improve sterilizing conditions in hospitals and clinics in Africa. Some of the surgical departments she has visited have post-operative infection rates as high as 90%. A lot of these infections are due to improper sterilizing techniques and procedures. She provides these departments customized training that is adaptable to their low resource setting in order to help bring them up to international standards.
I first met Christina in Guinea and it has been a great pleasure having her back on-board again in Congo. I am amazed and inspired by the work that she is doing. She has started an NGO called Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust. Currently she is in the running for a $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada. Please check out this video and vote for her organization so she wins! The grant money will go a long way towards interventions that literally save lives.
I thought I would copy and paste a brief update about my last trip that I was asked to write for the news page on our intranet.
A team of five from Mercy Ships along with one government partner returned this week from a nine day trip throughout the Republic of Congo. The trip had four main objectives that were all met in full:
- Visited the sites in Oyo, Ouesso, and Brazzaville where Mercy Ships will have patient selection days in November and December (the site in Impfondo was visited the week prior). Met with hospital directors and local government officials. Established patient flow and security plans.
- Provided training to representatives from the Ministry of Social Affairs so that they can help direct the proper type of patients to the selections.
- Selected 27 orthopaedic patients from various towns in the interior. Gave these patients their yellow appointment card to come for a surgeon screening on the ship in October.
- Alongside our government partner, determined assembly point and logistics for the transport of selected patients from the interior to the Africa Mercy.
The team had a great time exploring the beauty of Congo and navigating the long drives between the selection cities. The support we received from Africa Mercy community when we hit a few ‘bumps in the road’ was greatly appreciated. We eagerly await the arrival of the selected orthopedic patients and look forward to working out the final details of the upcoming selection days.