Blogs from Manzini, Swaziland, Africa

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Africa » Swaziland » Manzini September 3rd 2015

My time here in Swaziland is drawing to a close as I leave for meetings in Europe at noon today. I'll be flying out of the new King Mswati airport to Joburg and taking the overnight flight north. The project here has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. We all have achieved and learned a tremendous amount about serving the underserved here in southern Africa. With many lessons left to learn, we are optimistic about the work here and look forward to the ongoing care for the patients we've touched and to the the next opportunity to do more. This work would not be possible without the strong participation of so many: from the community health motivators to the surgeons and all in between...everyone had a critical role. I am so appreciative for each and ... read more
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Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 31st 2015

August 31, 2015 (Swaziland) It was a great way to close out the month of August. It was a national holiday and time for the Reed Dance where some 80,000 maidens deliver reeds to the Queen mother and dance for the King. Simultaneously at the Luke Commission campus we were making a transition from the first week's inaugural surgeon (Dr. Glenn Strauss) to this week's surgeon (Dr. Alex Cohen). Glenn did a couple of cases and then observed/coached Alex through a few more and was off on the shuttle to Johannesburg. Meanwhile Alex has been diligently working to hone and perfect his MSICS technique. It has gone very smoothly and the transition is now done. It was a warm day here in Swaziland - the warmest we've had, but the evenings arrive suddenly and the temperatures ... read more
Supervising
Trading Places
Dr. Hildebrand "coaching" Dr. Cohen

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 27th 2015

The program in Swaziland is part of a broader national blindness prevention program and a new integral part of the Luke Commissions compassionate outreach to the remote areas of the country. The eye care component is an expansion of an eyeglasses program TLC has had in place over the years. To expand their eye services, we designed a vision screening program that was "bolted on" to their existing mobile hospital outreach program. "Room 9" was the ninth workstation in the mobile hospital set up designed to do the vision screening which includes visual acuity assessment, refraction (if needed) and determination of presence of blinding cataract to find surgical cataracts. Other medical conditions are managed as possible and as needed. The second component of the cataract blindness prevention program was setting up high quality surgical services at ... read more
A cataract
Peribulbar injection
Surgical Team

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 26th 2015

We do not take electricity or internet connectivity for granted here - maybe more accurately we do, and then are frequently disappointed. As we were about to start our first cataract case, a loud explosion in the distance was the regional transformer on the electrical grid. Undaunted, we transferred over to the generator systems...yes plural...one for 220V power and the other for 110V power. Just before starting the case, regular power was restored! Similar, but more fickle, is the internet access - very spotty most of the time, limited bandwidth and frequent intermittent outages.... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 25th 2015

We have now completed our first couple of days deploying the new cataract surgery program at TLC's Miracle Campus in central Swaziland. The goal has been to deploy a safe, high quality cataract surgery program for Swaziland to address cataract blindness. Most TLC patients are culled from mobile hospital outreaches to remote areas, so most of the patients we see are incredibly poor and subsistence farmers in rural areas of the country. There is a remote screening service in the field that identifies likely candidates for surgery. Those patients are brought to the campus where they are housed and fed for three to five days to have a pre-op assessment, diagnostic workup, surgery and one day of post op recovery. The surgery suite is a two operating table suite, where an operating microscope swings from side ... read more
Residence
Sunrise
Preop Area

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 24th 2015

The Luke Commission Miracle Campus (Aug 24, 2015) - I had an adventurous trip to Swaziland via Johannesburg. Delta's flight 200 was almost exactly 15 hours and 100% occupied...yes every seat filled. The issue with that is that one seat (unknown to the flight attendants) wouldn't recline...yup 40G - my seat. The button has been pushed into the armrest, so all that was left was a hole. All the flight attendants were quite concerned, maintenance on the ground was called, but alas...no fix! :( So by the time we landed I was a bit uncomfortable - but happy to have made it! The visa lines were particularly long and took almost an hour to get through the immigration process, but since the flight arrived a bit early, timing with the ground team meeting me was perfect. ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini August 23rd 2015

Sodvodkovo, Swaziland (August 23, 2015) 10:15 PM local time and just made it to our headquarters here in Swaziland. A five hour van ride from Johannesburg - had to make the border before it closed. Fog and thunderstorms, but we made it!... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini June 6th 2015

By now I’m sure a few of you are thinking “Wait a minute.. I thought I gave this kid money to help him further his education working in developing regions and it seems like all he’s done is fart around Tanzania climbing mountains and eating goat.” Fear not, I’ve been getting your money’s worth in Cheshire. I have been working in the clinic since April aside from a brief excursion to Mozambique. I’ve just been quite busy working, learning, and having the time of my life and haven’t found enough time to blog (perhaps I’m not looking hard enough) and I still wanted the blogs to be in somewhat chronological order. As promised, here is a short blog describing Swaziland’s best and brightest disability rehabilitation clinic, Cheshire Homes. It is an incredible place and I have ... read more

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini May 17th 2015

When I return to Eastern Africa, and believe me I will, this is one place I simply can’t give a miss. Lengai was the highlight of my Safari experience and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was the fourth day of the Safari and we were back in Karatu, fresh from the Serengeti. We were once again clients of the lollipop guest house and had spent the previous night in our usual fashion. Sitting around drinking Tanzanian lagers and talking until drooping eyelids prevailed. Early the next morning I awoke to raised voices. It appeared that someone had broken into our car and robbed us during the night. Thankfully I had the foresight to keep my valuables with me in the room so my personal losses were pretty minimal. Things weren’t so great ... read more
Lollipop Bathroom
Pewl
Summit Pic

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini May 2nd 2015

A brief insight into my travel partner for the second half of my travels in Tanzania: During my week in Mwanza I met a man named Gudlak (pronounced “Good Luck”) who was assisting with the acute care clinic. Gudlak is the man. He is 32 years old and was born and raised in Arusha, Tanzania. He supports his daughter, parents, and various nieces and nephews by doing seasonal survey work in the bush for Rutgers University. He traveled to Mwanza with a friend of his who had studied anthropology at said university and was associated with Lighthouse Medical Missions. Seeking to improve my Swahili and learn more about this intriguing guy I started chatting him up whenever I got the chance and soon found that he used to lead climbs up Kilimanjaro as well. I shared ... read more




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