The Wings of Healing Medical Mission
This mission comprising our largest team yet – 12 medical personnel forming two complete Operating Theatre teams – successfully reviewed over 200 under-privileged Ethiopian Women in an Outpatient setting, and undertook responsibility for major Obstetric and Gynaecological surgical procedures in 56 women.
Fifty six major Gynaecology procedures were performed. Most of those who had surgery had been suffering from their problem for a number of months, sometimes years. A large number of patients had walked for days to arrive at Bethel Hospital having heard of the free treatment available. The commonest procedures on this occasion were the abdominal myomectomy and vaginal hysterectomy for genital prolapse. We successfully completed two radical Wertheim’s for Cervical cancer, four operations for ovarian cancer and two for uterine cancer. Theprocedures were completedwith excellent results despite scarce resources. No post-operative complications were noted.
Teaching and Training input into local staff in order to promote our ultimate objective – a sustainable improvement in local health service improvement – underwent great advances as we made further inroads building strong and trusting relations with hospital staff. It was heartening to note the now routine incorporation of previously introduced concepts – Patient Wristbands, World Health Organisation Surgical Safety Checklists, and whiteboards in Theatre marking and counting swabs and surgical instruments per case. We worked to consolidate these practices during this mission and added further practical training throughout the perioperative care pathway where possible. The greatest scope for improvement remains documentation in medical notes and immediate post-operative patient analgesia and recovery. We look forward to addressing these further in May 2014.
On a more personal level, the warmth and acceptance with which previous mission members were recognized and received by a range of hospital staff was profoundly rewarding on this occasion. We are deeply grateful for the time and hospitality extended to us by Dr Yigermu Asfaw, Professor Gordon Williams and their teams.
Bethel Children’s Village
The inclusion, for the first time, of three mission members dedicated to electrical and maintenance aspects saw our most meaningful impact to date on the Children’s Village. All unsafe electrical connections in the village were made safe. Doors were repaired, broken glass windows were replaced, showers were installed for the first time and a new hand wash basin and new toilet were installed.
In addition, we provided the 19 children with school bags, items of clothing and accessories, toys and food as per previous trips. At the children’s request we purchased two electronic keyboards and microphones to allow for their entertainment and development – their appreciation for these was very moving.
Following a successful mission, we were proud to be able to sign an agreement for the following future plans with Dr Yigermu Asfaw:
- Wings of Healing Wing at Bethel Children’s Village
- Wings of Healing Charity Hospital
- Wings of Healing Emergency Unit at Bethel General Teaching Hospital
Our first priority is to fund the expansion of the Children’s Village due to the unexpected addition of 14 new orphans this Christmas. Owing to the kind management of the current village, we expect the local council will apply to the management of the village to care for more children. The local council has approved building plans for a school for 400 children and accommodation for 80 more children.
All donations arising from the Cake Bake sale, Northwick Park Hospital 12th Dec 2013, and a publicity event hosted by Baroness Caroline Cox at the House of Lords on 25th February 2014, will be channeled to this cause in the first instance. As usual, all donations directly fund the charity’s projects with no money being diverted to administration costs.
Wings of Healing is grateful to all those who have contributed financially to its cause, and is particularly grateful to those who have selflessly given their time and expertise in making this November trip a success.