[Translated from Spanish] I want to thank each and every doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist and everyone else who operated on me at the hospital Cima. I want to give a THOUSAND THANKS for the miracle of having found you and ask God to bless you all and God give you strength to continue his works unconditionally.
Thank You Notes
My greatest thanks to this incredible group who came to help these little children in my country. I helped you gladly in translating at Honorio Delgado Hospital and left a great print on my heart. It was a great pleasure for me being with you and appreciate the love you gave to the ones that needed from you.
A team of volunteers made up of doctors, nurses, administrators, and technicians arrived in Kumasi in November and checked into Rexmar Hotel. They immediately proceeded to the hospital and dropped off equipment they carried as hand luggage. They also took the opportunity to inspect goods previously shipped to Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
The following two days, Friday and Saturday were devoted to patient assessment and selection. Medical evaluation of the patients was done by with their local counterparts. Sunday the list of patients to be operated was displayed in the hospital. Between 250 and 300 patients with cleft, facial and orthopedic deformities were evaluated.
Nearly 80 were selected for operation. Many of the patients traveled long distances from all corners of the country to take advantage of the free service. Those who could not be treated left disappointed but were reassured that they would be taken care of by future missions.
Surgery for selected patients was carried out from Monday through Friday. Anesthesia was administered by the visiting anesthetists. Operations were performed mainly by the visiting surgeons with assistance from the local surgical team. The local surgeons also assisted with organizational issues. Nursing care was also a cooperative effort by both visiting nurses and local ones. Patients were either discharged same day or were detained for a few days on wards B3 and D2A, D2B.
In general the visit and the operations went smoothly. There was good rapport as well as mutual respect between the visitors and their Ghanaian hosts. The patient turnout was in excess of what could be handled in the period of the mission. There is a great need for the service rendered and it is expected that there will be many more such missions to Ghana in the future.
The positive response of patients to the mission underlies the need for cleft services in the country. The service must be continually available and affordable locally. In the short term more such medical missions will help to meet existing need. For the long-term, however, local capacity must be built. Efforts being made locally, like the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Cleft Clinic require encouragement and support to build the capacity to manage clefts in Ghana. Out of this a local team could provide regular outreach service to remote parts of the country.
Nurses and other personnel could be assisted with training either locally or abroad to organize and run the local cleft service effectively. This could take the form of workshops and/or visits to existing centers.
It is the expectation of all that the CSI team will return to Kumasi soon.
Liberia today has over 114 orphanages. They are not regulated by the government and healthcare for the children is non-existent. This story is about 3 orphan boys who were able to have surgery with CSI in 2010.
Last Tuesday Jeremiah, Joshua, and Fumbeh received life-changing hernia repair surgeries, thanks to the amazing team of surgeons and medical staff from Children’s Surgery International (CSI). The CSI team was here for one week and performed hundreds of facial, hernia, and burn surgeries. And they did it all for free!
The need for these surgeries was so big here that the CSI team was overwhelmed. I brought seven children in for preliminary evaluations by the Liberian team prior to CSI arriving. The night before I was supposed to bring them back to be assessed by the CSI surgeon, Dr. Steve, I was told that there were only 13 surgical spots left and over 100 people were staying overnight hoping for one of them.
Elena and I left early the next morning, the car loaded with seven excited children, without much hope of any of our kids receiving the surgeries that they needed. As we headed down the road we wondered out loud if it was even worth going. I asked one of the kids to pray, and as Jeremiah's prayer floated up from the backseat, I could feel the mood in the car change. I started getting excited and had a feeling we were going to be witnessing a miracle (because that is what it was going to be if any of my kids were actually going to have surgery this week).
We were over an hour late arriving, and as I drove up to the hospital, I passed through a crowd of mothers and children waiting to be seen. We were greeted at the door by the screening team and were told there are only nine spots left. Then I realized, as we were escorted straight back to see the surgeon, they were waiting for us! Dr. Steve examined the children one by one and, in the end, three of the seven were selected to have surgery. (We actually ended up taking three of the last five surgery spots!) The other four received the promise of being at the top of the list for surgery when the CSI team returns next year. Amazing!
Jeremiah, Joshua, and Fumbeh received lots of love and attention from the entire CSI team and were totally spoiled—chocolate pudding and TV watching! And they were even able to experience an elevator (“the moving room”) and flushing toilets for the first time. They really did not want to leave the hospital when it was time to go. A week later, all three boys are doing great! Thanks again to Lora, Anna, Jennifer, Emmi, Dr. Steve, and the rest of the Children's Surgery International team. Thanks also to Dan Adomitis and Firestone for allowing them to use Firestone’s hospital. They did over 20 surgeries a day the entire week they were here and changed all kinds of Liberian lives, including three that are very close to my heart.