Due to unforeseen medical circumstances the itinerary of our trip to Sumve suddenly had to be altered. Frank Wijffels took the place of Peer Poelmann and the visit to Arusha was cancelled.
After the Sunday night flight via Nairobi to Mwanza the first patients were seen on Monday afternoon ( list 1). As usual the OPD was busy and somewhat chaotic and with plenty of time taken for teaching. Eventually a theatre list for Tuesday and Wednesday was made ( list 2). This time a physiotherapist from Amsterdam joined in but there were no medical students from Nijmegen.
Due to delay of our flight from Nairobi our arrival was unfortunately a bit later at Mwanzay, but Dirk was our representative on behalf of the welcoming committee.
Patients were already waiting In Sumve. A total of more than 50 patients presented till eight pm. Some of them without obvious orthopedic problems, but the majority had an abnormality of the musculoskeletal system. Unfortunately, we couldn’t offer treatment in a few patients because of the limited surgical options such as absence of fluoroscopy or specific instruments.
Each year primary school The Rainbow in Assendelft (North of Holland) organizes a day of action for a specific goal. This year the school chose to support the Foundation of Njokuti!
For the very first time they organised a sponsorrun. All children looked for sponsors amongst their family, friends and acquaintances to support them financially. Rona Snoek from the Foundation of Njokuti visited the school in order to inform the children about the work of Njokuti.
As partner of one of the consultants and with no experience in health care the unique opportunity arose for me to participate with a mission of Njokuti to Tanzania and as a team member to carry out various support tasks. I was able to experience much of the things I so often heard in the stories about the work of medical teams in Africa. And
I can now say – all the television pictures are correct: the long lines of patiently
waiting people, the over-crowded wards and the preterm babies that are rolled in
five’s together in a blanket and kept warm on an electric blanket. The resignation at the most horrible wounds is impressive.
At the end of 2010 I spent over three months in Tanzania to see the work of Njokuti Foundation and to evaluate their support in this East-African country. As a cultural anthropologist I previously conducted research in Kenya and Guatemala and in the future I will be doing research in Uganda. Spending a couple of months in Tanzania was a good experience and after arrival back in Holland I reported my findings to the board of Njokuti Foundation.
A few days after my arrival in Tanzania I join the outreach team of the ALMC hospital when they are visiting children with orthopaedic disabilities in the beautiful Longido area in northern Tanzania. A couple of days later I see some of these children back at the ‘plasterhouse’ in Arusha. In this centre dozens of children are awaiting surgery or are recovering from an operation that has usually be done in the ALMC hospital in Arusha. During most of my visits the young boys and girls are playing soccer, the plaster or the crutches don’t seem to hinder them in their games.
Harry de Vries and Rene van den Wijngaard went to visit their African colleagues in Haydom and Arusha in April 2011. Harry reports.
On April 7th, Rene and I travelled to Tanzania via Nairobi. It was Rene’s first trip for the Njokuti foundation and the first time we went out together. Always exciting. It eventually became a very hot trip with much work and much fun. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, we stayed in the hotel next to the airport. The next day Pat Patten of the Flying Medical Service picked us up. It’s a strange feeling: On an international airport waiting on a plane specifically for you to pick you up and bring you to Haydom. By land it will take you all day, by plane it will take one hour.