The posts I make here aren’t always chronological. Mostly it is because I come across some photos that I realized I haven’t shared. That is the case again this time. Scrolling through the archives today I found some photos that were taken at our screening in Antsirabe in December. It was a really great screening. We partnered with a company called Socota Group. They are a fabric and textile company and the largest employer in all of Madagascar. They have been a wonderful partner to work with. Instead of using a clinic or hospital like we usually do, we held the screening in a very large, old house that was the former office for the region. Here are some photos taken by Ruben Plomp.
This is an article about our latest field screening in Morondava that appeared in a local newspaper on Monday. It’s in French but google translate does an okay job…
The man in the photo comes to the ship tomorrow!
I am writing from the room in Hôpital Be Morondava where we are having our last field screening of the Madagascar II Field Service. Yesterday was a very good day and we selected just over 30 patients to come to the ship for evaluations by the surgeon. There were a few patients that came that we had originally seen in referrals months ago and had difficulty getting in contact with. It was cool to see them standing before us.
We finished our prep work early and were able to travel out to the Avenue of the Baobobs on Tuesday evening for a spectacular sunset. Perks of the job…
Early in December our team traveled to a remote city in the southwest called Fotadrevo and held a screening to select patients. Here is part of the brief email report I sent to our Hospital Director and Chief Medical Officer:
I’m writing from my desk in the forward office. We arrived back to the AFM about an hour ago. There was no internet, no Orange service, and minimal Telma service in Fotadrevo.
It was a wonderful few days in Fotadrevo. The sky is so big down there – beautiful, fluffy clouds hang over the dry, cracked landscape. It is pretty wild and rugged in the south.
Zoara Hospital gave us a warm welcome and showed us plenty of hospitality. The hospital is simple, clean and appeared to be functioning pretty well. The chief medical officer at this time is a general surgeon and asked us not to select for hernias and lipomas. You will see this reflected in the stats.
I was pleased with how well the word got out about the screening. We had a high turn out but a relatively small amount of patients selected, which of course means the pre-screeners had the very difficult job of saying ‘no’ to many, many people. We had people travel from over 200 km to come see us. One man and his friend walked two weeks. Most people we queried regarding how they knew about the screening heard from doctors or other aid/development workers or from Zoara hospital. It is encouraging that our partners have helped us so much in this way.
Honoré, one of the translators we hired in Toliara is originally from Fotadrevo so we made the decision to bring him with us to Fotadrevo as I was struggling to find local translators in Fotadrevo. It turned out to be a wise decision and we were extremely grateful for his presence and willingness to come. The dialect is quite different and our Screening day crew struggled at times to communicate with the people. It turned out that Honoré is sort of a local celebrity in Fotadrevo, one of three people that he knows of from Fotadrevo that has gone to university. We could tell that the people respect him.
I have even more photos to share from our screening in Mahajanga back in September. We don’t get to have someone from communications join us on every trip, so since we have so many great photos from that trip I thought it would be good to share them. Included are some photos from our visit to Fitia’s home.
I’ve worked with Mercy Ships for a combined total of a little over three years at this point. I first started in 2003, then again for a short time in 2007, and then I returned to the ship in 2012 as a nurse and have spent more time here since then than any other place. So after all this time my parents finally were able to visit and see first hand what I have been up to. We had a lot of fun.
This photo was taken this past Saturday on our flight back from our screening in Antsiranana. In Madagascar we have the unique privilege of partnering with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), an NGO that helps people like us get around to remote areas of the island or to cities much quicker than we could by ground transportation. Our screening program would be much more limited if not for our partnership with MAF – we are flying with them to 9 of the 11 cities we are screening in this field service.
On three occasions now patients have flown back to the ship with us on our MAF flight, saving them several days to weeks of hard travel to Toamasina. We hope that we can expand the flying of patients more in the coming months as we are traveling to a couple of cities that will become very difficult to travel from when the rainy season hits in full.
The pilot in the picture is Patrick. I am so thankful for him and the rest of the MAF team. We couldn’t be reaching so much of this country without their incredible partnership. It is such a great pleasure to work with them.
This is Pierre, one of our trusted, veteran daycrew on the Screening Team. On Thursday he explained to 49 patients the process of traveling from Antsiranana to Toamasina and what it would be like to be in the care of Mercy Ships. I can’t imagine what we would do without him and the rest of our team.
Photo taken at our first day of screening in Antsiranana, Madagascar.
In case you are following in real time I just want to give a brief update that our team is heading out on another screening Trip. We fly out to Antsiranana in the far north today and then have our patient selection days on Thursday and Friday. Back to the AFM on Saturday.