The Mission was proposed by Marina Goldman R.N. who has worked as a volunteer with Peace Corps and traveled to Sierra Leone many times over the past 20 years. After discussion with Marina it was clear that Kabala would be an appropriate spot for ISHI to have a mission. In June of 2011 Marina and medical student Zak Kaufman traveled to Sierra Leone and met with officials from the Kabala hospital who agreed to host a surgical mission. In collaboration with a British GP Dr. Connie Smith and a local health care provider Mr. Peacemaker, surgical patients were triaged in preparation for the mission. Mr. Peter Conte District chairman of the Koinadugu District also welcomed the mission and was instrumental in hosting the team. The objectives of the mission were to: have a safe and gratifying experience for all volunteers, perform 55 major and 75 minor surgeries (130 cases), teach local staff: formally in classroom & informally at a beside and in the OR, deliver medication and equipment in short supply in Kabala, donate medical supplies and electrocautery, and evaluate Kabala hospital and the needs of community for possible repeat ISHI missions.
ISHI team late afternoon trek on the dusty road from Kabala hospital to the guesthouse
Morning mist settling over agricultural town of Kabala.
MISSION SUPPLIES AND PREPARATION
Given the scarcity of medical resources and supplies in Sierra Leone, ISHI team had to have all contingencies covered prior of arrival to Kabala. Careful packing and surgical supplies usage estimation was done. Medical Supplies and medicine were donated to ISHI by various entities, some by MAP and Americare (used Bovie machine), some were purchased online via www.mooremedical.com and some were purchased in Freetown and Kabala in Sierra Leone. Very important, Mindray North America donated OR and RR Monitors that were crucial to ISHI equipping the operation room.
ISHI team at Newark International Airport organizing 18 boxes of medical supplies and surgical equipment. Baggage fees to transport these materials abroad have become exorbitant with recent changes in airline policies.
ISHI team transformed an empty operating room into a busy OR Suite where 2 cases could be done in tandem. The team averaged more than 12 cases per day including emergency unscheduled cases.
OUR PATIENTS AND LOCATION
Getting to Kabala involved a 20 hour plane trip to Freetown Airport followed by a ferry crossing to this Capital, and a 7 hour bumpy ride on local roads in fully loaded bus. ISHI team members carried along with their own personal bags, all of the supplies, surgical instruments, medications and equipment they would need for the week of operations that they would soon be providing. The team arrival was broadcasted on the local radio station, which resulted in patients coming from all over the district in the following days. Some walked hours from their remote villages to get to Kabala.
The majority of elective cases were done under spinal anesthesia. Pictured above is placement of a spinal needle in a muscular thin patient .
Patients seated outside awaiting triage. Some patients arrived at daybreak waiting 6-7 hours to be seen by a surgeon; many traveled greater than 50 kilometers after hearing radio announcements of our arrival.
The ISHI team was constituted of a group of 13 volunteers, financing their airfare and some accommodation cost. The team traveled to Kabala in Sierra Leone and operated at the Kabala Governmental Hospital for one week.
Stephanie Burroughs, RN Benjamin John Chandler, MD Marina Dianne Goldman, NP Leah Holt Grange, CRNA Vishnu Hoff, Photographer Charlie Khoury, Photographer-Logistics Anastasia Kunac, MD David Livingston, MD Debbie Livingston, Artist Vely A. Louis, MD Ziad C. Sifri, MD Tamara Virginia Uhler, RN Zeina Wakim, Logistics.