Working visit Uganda, dec 2022

Working visit Uganda, dec 2022

Travel report René van den Wijngaard and Frank Wijffels
Nov 27, 2022 – Dec 4, 2022

On November 27, we, René van den Wijngaard and Frank Wijffels (two orthopedic surgeons from Njokuti) left for Uganda. When we arrived late in the evening, luckily the shuttle was still ready to take us to Sunset Hotel. And the rental car also arrived at the agreed time the next morning.

We drove to Kitgum via the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway: a journey of 8.5 hours, with a 4WD Prado… We were expected at the Bomah hotel. We hoped to contact St. Joseph Hospital that same day, but unfortunately that was not possible. So we drove there the next morning, hoping that everything had been arranged well. The head nurse received us and called Dr. Pamella Atim. It turned out that she was on holiday, but still came to receive us and introduce us further. We started the consultation hour with the medical officer. A lot of patients came, because it was communicated that it was ‘for free’! That’s why we were able to see up to 100 patients. 40 patients were eligible for plastic surgery due to burns, but unfortunately no plastic surgeon came along this time. But the orthopedic patients had come to the right place. We saw patients with osteomyelitis (bone inflammation) and post-traumatic defects (deformity after an accident) and a few patients with ‘fresh’ fractures. In 3 days we operated on 26 patients between 8am and 7pm! The remaining 34 patients could be treated conservatively (i.e. without surgery) and received treatment advice from us.

At the weekend we drove to Kalongo via the Kidepo National Park. It turned out to be a little less well organized there. We saw fewer patients, but here too we found young children with osteomyelitis, genoa valga (X-knees), and a number of children with ‘fresh’ fractures. In total we saw 30 patients at our consultation hours and 5 children in the hospital ward. The next 2 days we operated on 8 children.

The operating room in Kalongo was better equipped than in Kitgum. They had small and large fragment invoice sets and screws with the right lengths. That made the work a bit easier. However, both hospitals still took us out of our comfort zone, because the level of sterility clearly left much to be desired. All ‘sterile’ materials had been thrown into one pile and there were holes in the surgical gowns and drapes… But everyone was happy that we were there and we were able to perform many operations. And of course that’s why we do it! And it was nice to see that the children were also happy with the Njokuti T-shirts and the many cuddly toys! And the operationroom staff was happy that there was something left for their children 🙂

On the day of our departure, 8 more patients came by in the hope that we could still see them. We did that, but it was too late to operate on them, because we still had a long and uncertain return journey ahead of us, towards Entebbe.

We come to the conclusion that our working visit was again useful and worth repeating. But we also know that, in addition to an orthopedist, there is also a great need for plastic surgeons (2 or more), especially in Kitgum. So we will take that as an important discussion point to our next Njokuti meeting!

Frank Wijffels and René van den Wijngaard

Werkbezoek dec 2022

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