Amref Medical Specialist Consortium Makes its Inaugural Surgical Outreach Mission to Dadaab

by Amref Health Africa

Amref Health Africa in Kenya through the Amref Medical Specialist Consortium (AMSC) in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) organised a week long general surgical mission at the IRC and Red Cross Hospital located within the Dadaab Refugee Camp.

This is after IRC and Amref Health Africa in Kenya entered into an agreement to provide reverse referral services to Dadaab Refugee Camp effective July 2018. The partnership marks the first service offered by AMSC since its inception last year. AMSC builds on the existing Amref Outreach Programme through which locally relevant models of medical specialist outreach services are delivered. Reverse referral implies taking doctors to the patients instead of referring patients to another hospital for a specialised treatment.

Throughout the week, two visiting specialists – Dr Philemon Too, a General Surgeon, and Mr Mahalon Owino, a Radiographer/Sonographer – attended to scores of patients, mainly refugees, at the IRC Hospital located in Fafi Constituency and Ifo in Lagdera Constituency at the Dadaab Refugee complex. Dr Too was stationed at IRC and Red Cross hospital while Mr Owino was  stationed at IFO 2 Hospital.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Amref Medical Specialist Consortium for this first general surgical camp within the Dadaab Refugee complex. Through this partnership, we will provide high quality surgeries and reach more refugees requiring specialised treatment,” said Dr Harun Mwadali, Medical Officer in Charge and Acting Health Manager at the IRC Hospital.

Dr Mwadali noted that the agreement between Amref and IRC is a progression to build on their strengths and partnership for better service delivery to their beneficiaries who are mainly refugees.

“For many years, we have had a big challenge with referrals as our Clinical Officers do not have the capacity to perform such surgeries. This is a dream come true for us,” he adds.

Dr Philemon Too, the chief surgeon on this mission, attended to at least seven surgeries each day that mainly included general surgeries.

One of the patients that Dr Too operated on was 60-year old Bashir Ali from Hadera Refugee camp, who was accompanied by his two sons. Mr Bashir had a hernia in his stomach; a hernia is the bulging of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. For the last four years, Bashir suffered debilitating pain caused by the hernia. Dr Too performed a 30 minute surgery to repair the hernia.

Bashir Ali, a resident at Dadaab Camp.

“I am so happy and excited that my surgery was successful. I cannot wait to go back to my carpentry work free from pain,” said Mr Bashir.

Alongside Mr Bashir was Maryan Mohamed, a 27-year old mother of four with an umbilical hernia that she had lived with for four years.

“I have waited for many years to have this operation. I have been taking medication to ease the pain. Today, my problem will be solved once and for all,” she said.

Dr Too commended the IRC team especially the screening and laboratory team for their great team work and dedication in making his work a success.

“The team here is quite impressive, hard-working, dedicated and doing the best for their patients. The screening was excellently done and this has made my work easier,” he noted.

AMSC continues to support County Governments and organisations like IRC to improve access to high quality, sustainable, affordable and relevant specialist services as well as develop, adopt and endorse ‘service access standards’ for benchmarking of health services. The Amref Health Africa Specialist Outreach Programme was established in 1957 to take essential medical and surgical services to rural and underserved hospitals across Eastern Africa. More than 300 hospitals in 8 countries have benefited from these services. To date, the programme continues to serve marginalized communities in various counties across Kenya through the Amref Flying Doctors light aircraft, commercial flights and road transport.

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