Working visit Arusha

Working visit Arusha

On Friday 13th of April we left in the morning with direct KLM-flight to Kilimanjaro Airport, Arusha. Just the day before we got permission to take with us an extra 30 kg of luggage, so we could take with us a lot of plaster and cotton wool.

At Kilimanjaro Airport we stayed for the night in the KIA-lodge and were collected the next morning by Sarah Wallis (who is working for the outreach program of Selian Hospital) to proceed by plane of the Flying Medical Service to Haydom Hospital, founded by the Norwegian Lutheran Church. There we met Jeanine Heeren, a tropical doctor working for Twiga Foundation.

The same day we started consultation for patients for surgery, planned for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Not everything was well-prepared, for instance 3 C-bows were available (for X-rays during surgery) but all three out of order and even the Norwegian technicians were not able to repair them.

We both got our own room with shower/bath incl. mosquito net and after supper in the guest house we took the opportunity to make a short walk in the village. Haydom being at an altitude of 1600 m. makes use of an extra sweater in the evening necessary.

On Sunday Norwegian students organized a trip to a Hadzapi village where inhabitants speak Khoisan, a click language.

On Monday 16th we started at 07.30 with a meeting in the well-stored library and after this there was a short church service during which we were introduced to all the hospital workers.

Because it took some time before surgery could start, we managed to perform together only 4 operations that day but at 20.00 we were called for a 5th operation; some patients had been eating and no blood was available (if needed, family members had to donate). Jeanine`s partner had blood group O-negative and was asked now and then to donate, also during our visit.

On Tuesday, after church service, Harry gave a lecture about degeneration of the joints and the rest of the day was like Monday including waiting a lot of time for the OK but in between we were able to see many patients at the OPD.

Wednesday morning we could perform another 4 operations before we left, again by FMS (Flying Medical Services), to Makiungu Hospital where we were welcomed by the nuns of the Irish Medical Mission of Mary. Here also the airstrip is at walking distance of the hospital.

Dr. Sheila joined us in selecting patients for surgery the next days and the good organization was in great contrast with that of Haydom Hospital.

At the end of the day dr. Sheila, clinical officer for anesthesia, and we planned the patients for operations on Thursday and Friday.

In the evening we had dinner with the nuns in their convent and after that we went to the guest house which was fine but unfortunately the boiler had broken down and electricity was a problem as well (in the hospital they have a separate generator to keep things running).

On Thursday 8 patients were operated thanks to the good organization of dr. Sheila; for this occasion they used special disposable coats and cloths but everything was re-used (!), so cloths were sometimes only 60 x 60 cm and sterility was not optimal.

Friday morning Harry gave a short lecture about treatment of clubfeet to the medical staff and then another 4 operations were performed.

Because of early finishing our program we had a short opportunity in the afternoon to walk around in Makiungu and in the evening we saw BBC world news at the satellite TV of the nuns.

Saturday morning after a last round seeing the operated patients we left again by FMS to Arusha and visited in the afternoon Selian Hospital which is in fact some 10 km outside Arusha city because originally it was founded for the Maasai people who did not like to go into the town itself.

A new hospital is now built in Arusha and will start services at the end of this year.

In the evening we went to the home base of the FMS for which the Canadian priest and pilot Pat Patton is working since 1984.

On Sunday we made a nice trip to the Ngorongoro Crater seeing al lot of animals and in the evening we flew back to Amsterdam; we feel that it was a good and useful trip.

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