It's been a whirl of a few months - after a fantastically restful break over the summer, I rejoined my floating home in late July in Durban. From there, we set sail for Cape Town where we spent a few days. If you have never been - well, you must. Table Mountain stands majestically above the city skyline, as the Africa Mercy takes its home on the Waterfront harbour. For me, it was a time of rest, refueling and a little bit of planning for the months ahead. From there we took a 10 day sail to our new home in Cotonou, Benin.
I'm in a new season now and have moved from Hospital Director to Medical Capacity Building Director. I wanted to get my hands dirty in a different way and have the opportunity to get involved with the training side of what we do.
This is me with my Medical Capacity Building team. As a team, our goal is to support and strengthen the local surgical health system from grassroots to Government in the most impactful way. Ambitious, aren't we?!
This is what we hope to provide:
· High quality medical education programs and quality improvement initiatives which include courses and mentoring in the areas of Anaesthesia, Surgeon mentoring, Surgical Nursing – Ward and OR, Biomed, Ponseti and Nutrition (Food for life).
· Targeted donations
· Targeted Infrastructure projects
· Support to the Government to influence policy development such as implementation of WHO Safe Surgical Checklist and National Surgical Plans
· Data collection for use in research and impact evaluation
It's an honour to be a part of creating and building a 'lasting impact'.
I'm still keen to keep my hand in the clinical side of things we do, particularly in relation to quality and evaluation. One of my favourite events of the last few months, was the surgical evaluation days we held for patients who we provided surgery for here in Benin back in 2009. It's not often we get the chance to re-connect, to check on how people are doing, to encourage, love, laugh, to learn what went well and what we could have done better. In fact, there aren't many people or organisations in the world who do such a thing. Patients were surprised as we showed them photos of what they looked like back in 2009 and were, without a doubt, touched by the fact that we cared enough to dig out their phone numbers and hunt them down from so long ago. Below, Dr Gary Parker - our Max Fac surgeon of nearly 30 years, reconnects with some long lost friends..
And for the patients who still have life transforming surgery to come, here's a small glimpse of some of the beauties we have lined up....
The twinkle in her eyes would never tell you of her twisted feet beneath....
Same for this little one...
One such treasure with who is in our line up with a Cleft lip is called 'Bignon'. Some born with such disfigurements are rejected and spend their lives fighting to be known - worse, even thrown away. But you know what Bignon means? 'All God does is good' - her mum and dad knew there was more to their treasure than a funky lip.
And with that thought, my friends, I will leave you.
All God does is good.
Check out this incredible short video....
Love always, KWW