Preventive medical checkup of a pregnant woman in the refugee camp Melkadida. Photo: humedica
German gynecologist offers ultrasonics training in refugee camp Melkadida
With the guiding idea of helping people to help themselves, humedica has run a health station in Ethiopia’s biggest refugee camp Melkadida, for three years now. Thanks to the generous support of the Federal Office of Foreign Affairs, not only up to 120 patients a day can be treated but also can regular trainings for the local staff be realized. Like the recently organized ultrasonics training of humedica field staff member Dr. Margot Wortmann:
“This is really a different world here …”, explains gynecologist Dr. Margot Wortmann after her first week in the refugee camp Melkadida, at the Somalian border in the south of Ethiopia.
“Today a young woman asked me what she is doing wrong. She is in her early 30s, has got seven children – but now, she hasn’t become pregnant for 2 years and that’s why she is exasperated. She has come to see me together with her sister, who is younger and has already given birth nine times. I can hardly imagine a situation like this one in my surgery in Erlangen.” She smiles. After a short pause she adds: “Anyway, here you learn to question the “normal” …”.
The experienced doctor will be on-site with humedica for four weeks. To tie in with the ultrasonics training of Dr. Anja Gebauer, Dr. Margot Wortmann also offers training for the local medical staff. This time, the focus lies on gynecology, a subject of great importance in the refugee camp’s community with many children.
In the course of the next months, humedica is going to donate an ultrasonic device to each of the five camps in this region, in order to improve the medical treatment also in the middle and in the long term. Thanks to the ultrasonic examinations, the local medical staff has now got the chance to recognize and treat diseases earlier – but to do so, the safe handling of the devices is a crucial requirement.
The presence of a German doctor in our Health Post has rapidly become known in the camp and the demand is enormous. Dozens of women are sitting in front of the surgery and hope to be examined by means of “the computer”, as the ultrasonic device is being called here.
The first patient of the day is humedica staff member Qali, who works as an assistant in the pharmacy of the health post. Health Officer Omar executes the examination himself with the help of nurse Bruki and supervised by the German doctor. Patient Qali is pregnant of six months and is beaming when she can see the outlines of the embryo on the screen.
“Everything all right here. The heart beats regularly and the baby has got a normal size”, finally declare Omar and Bruki together and Margot nods affirmatively.
Unfortunately, not all cases are so positive and can be cared for quickly. Despite her longtime work as a gynecologist, there are many things which are rather particular, especially if compared to Germany. “Nearly every woman here has been circumcised. Many of the young girls have got much older husbands, who have been married two or three times before already. For us, these cases are very strange.”
The generally difficult conditions in the camp must be added. “Before arriving here, you can hardly imagine how difficult the infrastructure is here”, says the gynecologist. Only a few weeks ago, a local help organization has started its work in the neighboring camp Bokolmayo, about 25 minutes away.
Since then, interventions like cesareans can be realized there. An important improvement, if you know that up to then, a three-hour journey to the next larger city had been necessary.
“Just now, we have referred a young woman there, who has found out with us that she will have twins. Both are in pelvic presentation and it is completely impossible for her to give birth normally.” Without the examination by means of ultrasonics, the situation could easily have become dangerous for mother and children.
After the first days, Margot rates her commitment positively: “What pleases me most is the fact that I can pass my knowledge on and can thus give long-term help. It is good to see how motivated the medical staff in Melkadida is and how we can bring much about with small things.”
Dear friends and sponsors, thanks to your support much could already be done in the refugee camp Melkadida. But there is still much work to be done on the way to a long-term improvement of the living circumstances there. Please be by our side on this way with your donation and become part of a permanent change. Thank you very much!
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