For the past two trips to Kyotera we were lucky enough to be joined by Dr. Robert Wangoda. Dr. Wangoda is an accomplished general surgeon in his community of Masaka, and he is learning about cleft lip and palate repairs from our GMAST doctors. It is the mutual aim of Dr. Wangoda and GMAST that he take over the program in the coming years. With this goal in mind he scrubbed in for every day of surgery and assisted our doctors in both lip and palate operations.
Juliet, we couldn’t get near her for a preop exam, she’s a feisty one. But her mom had the best parent quote with her first look at Juliet after surgery. She said “And now the cows will come“. It was a perfect compliment! You see, here the prospective husband makes an offering to the brides family, ie the cows.
They named her Angel, and she was. She came to have her cleft palate fixed, she’d had her lip repaired already. She was scheduled for Tues. afternoon she waited, but Tuesday morning our cautery wouldn’t work. (You can’t do a palate repair safely in a third world country without it). Angel was rescheduled to Weds. On the first case Weds the replacement cautery caught fire. Locals scrambled to find an adequate cautery and suction machine for her surgery. She was postponed again while we waited for a loaner cautery. Afternoon it arrived. We tested and were able to confirm it was adequate for surgery.
She is the first palate patient I’ve seen offer a full smile on the first post op day. This is what makes these trips worth the struggles.
Although the most visible results of our Uganda 2018 trip are clearly the before and after photos of our successful cleft operations, perhaps the most global impact may come from education. On this trip, we had up to three Ugandan physicians in the OR watching and learning about cleft surgery. We also had an anesthetist, nutritionist and several nurses watching and participating in care. Our own nurses and CRNAs(Janet, Liz, Holly and Nicole) as well as our pediatrician (Mishelle) and our ER physician (Mark) spent time educating the staff in Kyotera Medical Center on a variety of topics including pulse oximetry and airway management, medication management, anesthesia techniques, and ultrasound evaluations. Teaching and instruction was shared between the physicians as well–both among our own team members and between our team and our Ugandan hosts. We feel strongly that education is as important, if not more important, than the surgery that we provided. Thank you for supporting our goals and partnering with us to promote health and healing around the world.