We are just on the second to last day of our mission here in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. All in all, it has been a very successful mission. We triaged over 100 patients. We had planned to do 25 surgeries but, we ended up doing 39 surgeries because the need here is so great. The burn injuries here in Ethiopia are so great with many children falling into open fires which, is still a common practice here. The amount of children and adults we saw with contractures was great. The biggest problem, in addition to seeing these injuries actually, is that there is no primary care for these patients when they receive a burn and they don’t receive initial 1st aid that’s required for acute burns.
So when we started triaging the patients on the first day, we were surprised with the number of children to see. In the past, it has been the number of young adults that we’ve needed to treat but, this year we had a lot of children under the age of 5 and due to that, we felt compelled to treat as many as we could at this stage, to make a future impact on the rest of their lives.
The surgeries went very well. Most of the surgeries were for burn contractures of the head. We did some eyelids, neck scar Contractures releases.
The patients have recovered well. We did a full day of dressing changes and all of the skin grafts have taken well and there are no infections. We have a dedicated occupational therapist on the team which is instrumental in ensuring a successful surgical outcome by splinting hands, necks, shoulder and elbows and ankles.
Overall, the 2 weeks has gone very well.