Screening Day – Ethiopia 2017

Screening day is complete!

Patient and loving families – flexible and creative volunteers – dedicated and enthusiastic staff.

This is the recipe that made today successful. After working through some space changes, our screening team got right to work. Thirty-six patients were evaluated for surgery, and we are expecting several more later in the week. Included in the group were babies, toddlers, adolescents, young adults and even some older adults. We saw a 27-day-old child with a cleft lip. Our surgeons, Dr. Siva Chinnadurai and Dr. Jon Robitschek are hopeful that in 6-8 weeks, when the baby is old enough, she can get this surgery from the local doctors – especially after the practice they will get this week.

While the medical records crew, floor nurses, pediatricians and surgeons were screening, the OR team was busy unpacking and preparing the operating room. The nurses and scrub technicians talked and readied the tools needed for surgery. The anesthesia team members also connected with their Ethiopians colleagues. CRNA John Erlandson shared some books and educational materials he brought from home. Our Ethiopian partners were excited and grateful.

In all, we screened 36 patients and plan to do 26 surgeries. CSI surgeons Dr. Chinnadurai and Dr. Robitschek worked alongside their three Ethiopian colleagues to prioritize cases, order the necessary labs for further screening, and set the schedule of the week. The plan is to focus on cleft lip and palate surgeries early, so by weeks’ end each Ethiopian doctor will have completed at least one surgery independently with consultation available as needed.

There is a little room in the schedule to accommodate some of the families we know are on their way. In addition, the team will get to help some patients with complex masses and other facial deformities that are keeping them from living their lives to the fullest. More on those patients later in the week.

After the long day of preparation, we enjoyed some time at the busy Bahir Dar market, where you can find spices, textiles, artwork and much, much more! Tomorrow we will have an opportunity to explore the community a bit, and have a Nile River experience.

It is a joy and privilege to work with this amazing team of dedicated volunteers – totally committed to collaboration and engaging our local colleagues in all aspects of patient-centered care. They are tremendous advocates and outstanding problem-solvers! The only thing more rewarding is to see the beautiful faces of these children and families, knowing we will be able to help them this week. The work we do to help our local colleagues build their skills means that the families who come next week, and all the weeks after we leave, will also be able to get the life-changing help they need.

See photos from the day here.