31st OCTOBER TO 4th NOVEMBER 2023
We closed the MMS program this year with the mission to Ambatolahy. 2 representatives of the Ministry of Public Health accompanied the MMS team for monitoring and evaluation as part of the procedure for renewal of the partnership agreement with the Ministry of Health.
In total, there were 19 of us including 14 mms team, 2 drivers and an assistant, the 2 representatives of the Ministry. The ophthalmology team were unable to join us on this MMS. We rented two vehicles – a 4*4 and a minibus. The journey was interrupted by a puncture, and when we arrived in Ambatolahy, many patients were already waiting for us.
Once the MMS started the Ministry team began their work by conducting an interview with the Mayor of the commune of Ambatolahy, the Chief Doctor and by questioning patients on their point of view on MMS. On the surgery side, many patients who we were unable to operate on during the last mission in July came and we scheduled them as a priority. Most are children.
Most of the cases consulted by our general practitioners needed surgical operation such as hernia, appendicitis, breast cancer. There are also very many people with diabetes, as well as people who have kidney and bladder stones, gastritis, transmissible sexual diseases (very many), for children, diarrhea, cough, otitis, fever, etc. For ultrasound, most are pregnancy follow-ups, appendicitis, simple abdominal pain; we detected a lot of kidney and bladder stones.
4 year old child came with his grandparents; he complained of having pain on his penis and he can’t urinate even though he wants to. Our surgeon diagnosed him and we found that he had a bladder stone and the stone was blocking his urethra. We put him in a bladder catheter for 10 days and we also performed a circumcision on him following the request of his grandparents.
The surgeons were divided into 3 teams, one of which was specifically for children, one for adults who needed spinal anesthetic and the other team for a local anesthesia operation. They worked until 6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the evening. We bought a fan for the special children’s unit because it was too hot. When we left there were still many people hoping to have an operation but we had to stop because we no longer had anesthetic products and above all there was no longer a post-operative room for patients
Most patients slept on the balcony and the midwife’s house has even been used as a post-operative room. The cases operated on are almost major surgeries including acute pain appendicitis, inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia, sebaceous cyst, cord cyst, upper labial cyst, hymetolus imperforation, bladder lithiasis, inguinal swelling, hydrocele, lipoma, breast abscess, vaginal hydrocele.
The age of operated patients ranged from 1 to 63 years old. A mayor of the rural commune of Belo sur Tsiribihina came to be operated on for hernia. Most of the people who had surgery come from Masiakampy, Miandrivazo, Mahabo (near Morondava), another patient came from Morondava, 200km away.
People say that they are very happy when they heard that there is still MMS in the month of November because otherwise they would be waiting until the next planned MMS to Ambatolahy March 2024. There is a woman who has an appendix with acute pain, she has already consulted a doctor and he advised her to go to Morondava or Miandrivazo to have an operation. She didn’t go because she didn’t have the money for it (generally an operation in large public hospitals costs from MGA 600,000 (GBP110). She said that she prefers to wait for the team to arrive even if it will be in March 2024.
Our journey back was Ok, but the overnight stop in Antsirabe was problematical, as in spite of us having done hotel bookings, the Police Academy had taken most hotel accommodation for a “promotion outing”, so it took until 11pm to find space.
In general, everything went well, the representatives of the Ministry are very active with the team, they are in good collaboration with us and even helped us distribute the medicines for the medical consultation. They help doctors direct patients into the surgery room.
MMS 2023 closed with record numbers of surgical operations in the week (61). A big thank you to the whole team.
People say “We are very grateful for the MMS mission that Hoveraid has planned here in Ambatolahy, thanks to you, many people can receive adequate care, without your help with this MMS mission, how could we live with such pain throughout our lives because we will never have money to go to the hospital, we are all peasants here. We hope that Hoveraid will always continue this mission and we wish a very long life to Hoveraid, to the entire team and especially to all the donors.”
Medical consultation 321; Ultrasound 88; Dental extraction 84; Surgery: major 55, minor 6 Total: 554