Today wraps up our week in Malawi which has by all accounts been a huge success. Dr. Henson and myself were able to exceed our surgical case goal with over 60 procedures performed in just 5 days. This volume could not have been accomplished without the excellent planning of the AHA staff, exceptional OR personal and assistance of the Kabudula staff. Power outages and limited supplies were daily challenges that required creative problem solving. Head lights and generators were a most to keep the day moving. Operating in Malawi has been a chance to step outside of my comfort zone and learn how to work with the resources at hand.
The opportunity to provide care for many people has been the highlight of our experience. Regardless of the country, surgery is a scary event for patients. The language barrier made comforting and reassuring patients a challenge, especially in our pediatric patients. Despite their anxiety, the Malawian patients showed a strength not commonly seen in the United States and trusted that we would fix their ailment. The hardest part of the week was turning patients away simply because there was not enough time in the day.
So, as our week ends it has been an honor to be a part of the Access Health Africa team. Our team quickly formed a small family. Our days have been filled with work in the village followed by eating dinner while drinking local beer and chatting in the evening. The group will be missed but not forgotten and we leave planning to return in the near future.
Thank you to Dr. Sean Martin, one of our volunteer surgeons for writing this blog!