Thursday, March 31, 2011

Screening Day Success

Here are the facts, as reported by our Hospital Projects Manager:
The Africa Mercy held the second main screening in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Saturday, 26 March 2011.  Setup of the venue was completed the afternoon prior to the event with a full security team present throughout the night to ensure order and to ensure the appropriate candidates were in the queue.  Many eye and dental patients were referred to the appropriate screenings.  Three hundred individuals were seen by Mercy Ships medical personnel.  Sixty-three of the 300 were scheduled for surgery, 96 were scheduled to return to the ship for a later surgeon screening, and 39 were waitlisted for surgery if a surgery slot becomes available.  Some were referred to the Ponseti program, physiotherapy, and X-rays, while others we were unable to help.  God provided a cloud cover to keep the day cool and the screening was peaceful without any disturbances.

Here are some of the images that accompany these details so you can experience what a screening day might look like:
Loading up at 4:45 am

The convoy began to our new screening location
Starting the day with prayer

The crowd was orderly, in a proper cue (this is un-American for "line"), and waited patiently.

Dan helped to escort potential patients into the facility.
Upon reviewal, potential patients were allowed into the area where they began the registration, physical, appointment card process.
We had plenty of crew members who helped escort patients from station to station.

Potential patients with many different conditions arrived to be screened, to see if they would qualify for our surgeries and treatment.  This girl had suffered from a major burn.

After being screened to see if they meet our surgical criteria, we registered the patients collecting important information so we can track them and locate them again in case that type of surgery is performed later on during this year.

This little girl has several extra digits on her left foot.

Part of the smoothness of this day was due to the fact that we had pre-pre-screeners out from midnight until the early morning with posters that indicated the types of conditions we are able and equipped to help.

Dr. Gary Parker (who has served the past 24 years with Mercy Ships) and Dr. Alan Reus (visiting for two weeks with Mercy Ships) perform an examination on this woman to see if her tumor is benign and can be removed.

Here is a potential orthopedic surgery candidate who has learned how to manuever very well, despite the extreme contorsion that has taken place in his legs.

This mother's face says it all.

We had dental and eye teams there as well to find patients who need dental work and/or have cataracts.

We saw many potential maxilo-facial patients with various sized growths and tumors that have developed due to lack of health care.  If you got a lump, you'd have it removed - because you have access to a doctor.  In Sierra Leone, there are 169 doctors for the nation of more than 5,600,000 (less than 0.03 for every 1000 people).  So, access to a doctor is limited, not to mention the price that it takes to be able to see one.  The average wage here is $2.00 a day, and when you visit the doctor or the hospital you must come prepared to pay.  So here a lump will grow and grow without treatment.
As mentioned in the numbers at the beginning, not everyone qualified for surgery.  Some were referred directly to our palliative care department (hospice), others had conditions that we are unequipped to help or surgery will not correct.
But here is the face of hope.

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