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.
Fotadrevo from the air.
The courtyard at Hopitaly Zoara.
Patients wait in line to be seen by the pre-screener nurses.
The airstrip in Fotadrevo. We had quite the send off.