A team of 19 healthcare professionals and support staff travelled to Ethiopia on Saturday 14th November.
On arrival on Sunday morning, we travelled to visit our kids in Sabatha where we gave them all individually packed bags with gifts and stationery. We then went for a traditional Ethiopian meal, one of the rare opportunities for the kids to have go on an outing.
After lunch we travelled to Worabie hospital, which is 176 km (110 miles) south to Addis Ababa. We arrived around 8pm local time to a very welcoming reception from the hospital management and staff.
Worabie Hospital is a new 300-bed hospital. Currently 64 beds are in use. It is a plant hospital for St Paul Millennium Hospital in Addis.
The team spent a few hours going through and organising the medical equipment and medicine we’d brought over in 38 bags. This wasn’t an easy job.
After the reception ceremony we got straight to work by reviewing 26 patients in the outpatient clinic. They all presented with debilitating degrees of genital prolapse.
We were very happy to be joined by two junior Ethiopian gynaecology specialists and three Ethiopian resident doctors. Six Ethiopian medical students also joined us. The students found the daily ward rounds and the clinics to be very informative.
Over the following nine days we managed to operate on over 120 women, the vast majority of whom had genital prolapse. We were also pleased that our Ethiopian colleagues operated on a few patients with our direct/indirect supervision. It was very important to share our surgical techniques with our Ethiopian colleagues. A large number of the urinary fistulas treated in the Ethiopian Fistula Hospital, are due to surgical treatment of genital prolapse.
The team had to travel to Addis on Saturday the 21st to bid farewell to six of its members. Whilst there we met an O&G specialist from St Paul’s. We learned that the cervical screening program, which we helped to start in 2012, is going well and continuing to grow in St Paul Hospital and all the health centres supervised by St Paul.
After visiting the beautiful Kyrifto Lake the team returned to Worabie on Sunday 22nd.
We continued to work till the evening of Tuesday 24th and had a lovely sending off by the hospital management and staff.
The support staff visited Worabie School, responsible for educating more than 1600 children. Prizes were given to 40 students.
We travelled back to Addis Ababa to visit the Ethiopian Ministry of Health on the request of the Health Minister. We were asked about our feedback and lessons learned and we received individual certificates for our contribution.
We were asked to return to the same area in six months to continue operating on genital prolapse, which is endemic in Worabie. At the moment, this is our intention.