We have just arrived in Turkana. The 13th Cirugía en Turkana Campaign was held from 29 January - 14 February.And it has been a success.
The working conditions have been especially difficult this year, it has been months since it has last rained in Turkana and the heat is unbearable. There is also a cloud of unbreathable dust floating above our heads, making it difficult for us to breathe.
The lack of water leads to a shortage of foods, to more cases of malnutrition, especially for children. The lack of water leads to infections, which in turn cause more deaths.
The situation is starting to become worrisome in Turkana. Its fragile balance can be broken easily and things could get very difficult. It is the spiral into poverty that traps the inhabitants in a hell with no return. We already knew that we were going to find this situation and we arrived at the hospital with our good will and desire to work towards improvement.
When we arrived, we already had our patients selected, and the tents where they were going to spend their time at the hospital ready. Our camp was full of colours and smiles. The people know that we come every to try to improve their health and they eagerly welcome us with hope. The staff from the hospital also warmly welcomed us, and were all ready to start.
We have had some exhausting days of work, operating on around 20 patients every day, many of them children under 5 years old. We saw around 380 patients for consultations and carried out around 190 operations.
And this year we also had private mobile hospitals. Part of the team travelled to clinics in the region to visit patients and carry out smaller tasks. We carried out 4 overall at the following clinics:
We also relied on the support of several of our colleagues in Spain using our mobile phones. We greatly appreciated their help in solving our doubts, and we also found that the hospital staff were very eager to help us too, it was a pleasure to work with them.
Through another new project in this campaign, we were able to carry out tests with something very useful when it comes to Cooperation: telemedicine. We brought a portable ultrasound machine, computer and video conference system with us. Thanks to that we have carried out different ultrasounds on selected patients, while we did the ultrasound with the X-ray technician at the hospital, the radiologist in Madrid (Dr. Ramos, of the Alcalá de Henares Hospital) was looking at the image at the same time, helping us in the diagnosis.We had 12 cases and it worked perfectly.
We are working towards being able to use this system, not only during our campaigns, but throughout the year in order to collaborate with the radiologic technologists to diagnose patients. We also helped them to read images from the scanner. They installed it a few months ago and do not have sufficient training to read the images. Our initiative was received with a lot of enthusiasm by the hospital management, a lot of doors will be opened in the future that we will have to explore.
As in every year, we came across cases we could not fully resolve, but we did however try to help
as much as possible. This year we met Derick. One small four-year-old boy who had
Burkitt lymphoma.We cannot treat him in Lodwar. However, we were able to transfer him to
Nairobi, get him accommodation, and chemotherapy treatment to help cure him. We put it on facebook to raise
funds, and we had an amazing response from the great family of Turkaneros.
Now that we are back, we are already working on the 2017 Campaign.Through our joint efforts we ensure that we can go back to Turkana, and continue our work there.
Many thanks to everyone who has followed us and shown their support on Facebook, to the sponsors -Cepsa, Aproache, Bar Turkana, and Fundación Telefónica-, and to everyone who offers us unconditional help.
A heartfelt thank you.