Bring Your Own Sutures?

Bring Your Own Sutures?

Rarely has my flabber been so gasted.
I sat with three colleagues to my left, a husband
and wife doctor team on my right, with one of our
Ugandan care team members completing the circle.
Drs. Scott and Jennifer are American physicians
who serve as missionaries in Bundibugyo (where the
Ourganda teams provide life-saving medical care
wrapped in kindness). Stories and statistics tumbled
out of the doctors as they explained their work and
the challenges they attempt to overcome.
Scott, an OB-GYN, and Jennifer, a pediatrician, have
worked in east Africa for 25 years. The government
hospital where Dr. Scott serves has no X-ray
machine. The hospital lacks a Complete Blood Count
(CBC) Analyzer. We already knew that a woman
who gets to the hospital in labor may not be admitted
unless she arrives with her own birthing kit.
Bring Your Own Sutures?
But we were not prepared for what Scott said next.
“Just last month,” Dr. Scott explained, “a pregnant
woman who learned she would need a C-section
was told they had no sutures. They could not
perform the C-section unless she provided her own
sutures.”
What?! Where was she supposed to buy
sutures? And how?
This is where
Ourganda works. Our
three clinical officers,
two nurses, two
midwives, and drivers
travel in 4-wheel
drive vehicles to
reach villages where
people’s only hope
of medical education
and care is the weekly
visit of our teams. (It
took us 29 minutes
to drive 4.2 miles to
Buyambaya Village
through creeks and
up mountain ridges on
a belligerent road that
would have scared
Edmund Hillary.)
Our team is saving a lot of lives. During our trip last
month, Dr. Mike Garnett, a physician from Washington Ongoing Projects Cost Needed
Water Backpacks $5.50 each hundreds
Kits (Hygiene, Birthing) $8 each hundreds
Kids Kits $10 each hundreds
Water Filters $40 each hundreds
Urgent Medical Surgeries $1,000 average per person
Ron Gladden
Ourganda Director
state, gave advanced training in various treatments
and medication usage and helped them finalize their
formulary. Marla Hern, a registered nurse, worked
hand in hand with the clinical officers, nurses, and
midwives, gained a deeper respect and appreciation
for the immense challenges they face, and guided
them to better organize their medication distribution.
Andy Rodriguez, logistics and inventory specialist
at a medical center in Oregon, coached the team in
the areas of inventory, cost analysis, and ordering
efficiency.
We were blessed and inspired, but we encountered
urgent needs. During our brief visit to
our villages, we met seven people
who need immediate medical
attention. We have to help them.
One of the seven is a boy named Alex.
He is almost five years old. (I debated
whether to show you the photos of his
condition, but I don’t think I should.
You can learn enough from this photo
of Dr. Mike examining him.) When his
mother brought him to our medical team
in Bubandi II, her face was shaded by
pain and sorrow – with a hint of hope.
Hope that Ourganda could find a way
to help Alex. We must, and we will. Dr.
Mike talked with our clinical officers
and recommended assessment and
possible surgery in Mulago Hospital,
Kampala.
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