In the afternoon the medical team members organized a seminar for the staff and students of the “Mere – Enfant Hospital Le Luxembourg”. A group of 12 doctors and medical students attended our meeting and they were provided with a presentation. The pediatrician Bryan Stamm, explained about pre-surgical care. The surgeons Bradley Coots and Ian Wilson gave them information about the methods for surgery of cleft lips and palates. And PACU-nurse Bruce Hickey explained about the key issues of post surgical care. And this concluded our mission in Bamako, Mali. We all were very satisfied with the results of our mission and thankful for having met the beautiful people of Mali and enjoying the fellowship of our Bamako team. Thank you Rotaplast!
Last week we received an invitation for a meeting with the first lady of Mali, Mrs. Lobo Touré Traoré. She is very much involved with the care and development of the children in Mali. She is also the president of The Children’s Foundation in Mali and she invited us on Friday for a charity lunch at her office. In her speech she expressed her appreciation for the work of Rotaplast and thanked the team for their contribution for the health and well-being of the children in Mali.
Today is our seventh, and last, day of surgery. Again there are 13 reconstructions planned for today. In total we performed 87 reconstructions on this mission. We are very pleased with this result. We wouldn’t have been able to be this successful without the support of the local hospital staff and volunteers. To show our appreciation, we invited the local medical staff and volunteers for a special ceremony. Our mission director expressed his gratitude for the efforts of the local members of our team. The hospital staff received a Rotaplast certificate of appreciation to remember this special teamwork in the past two weeks. Also some presents were exchanged. Tomorrow there will be the post-clinic. This is the last opportunity for an evaluation of our patients health and well-being and a moment to answer their questions and give practical information to the parents for a trouble-free recovery. Then it is time to say goodbye and farewell to the patients and their families. From here they all go their own way. We will not forget them because we have built a special bond with them and their families. We hope, by giving them a new smile, they are able to build a better and brighter future.
Today is our fifth day of surgery. The team is well motivated and constructive; working together in a professional and cooperative atmosphere. Things are going smoothly, and on a good day we treat 13 patients on two operating tables. Sometimes we use a third table for surgery under local anesthesia. In the first four days of our mission we performed 50 reconstructions. If we can keep this up, we will have a very successful mission.
It is an exciting experience for both the parents and the patients. The team is doing an excellent job making the stay and treatment of the patients at the hospital as comfortable as possible. With the help of our Rotaplast interpreter, Carole Nielsen, and some local interpreters we are giving our patients all the information they need to make them feel at ease. We can’t do without the help of local interpreters because most of our patients do not speak English or French, but only the regional language of the Bambara.
To make the children feel at ease, the ward coordinator Agnes Wolfkamp plays a very important role. Not only does she take care of the bedrooms, she also speaks with the children in the universal language of joy and laughter by playing with them in the playing room. This helps pass the time for the children who were taken out of their daily routine and placed in a strange setting, surrounded by strange white people. These patients have not eaten or had anything to drink prior to their surgery.
Today a film crew of the national television was at the hospital to make a film of the work of Rotaplast in Bamako. This film is organized by the Rotary Club Bamako –Djoliba in cooperation with the hospital, and will be used for information and publicity on the national television later this year. Mission director Ken Funk expressed his appreciation for working with this team in Bamako, and for the help and cooperation of the Rotary and the local medical staff. Medical Director Sibrand Schepel informed the press about medical details of the mission and the background of this mission. They both complimented the parents and their children for their cooperation and their discipline before, during, and after treatment.