Information about the mission
December 22nd, 2013 to January 16th, 2014
Podiatrist in mission :
Dr. Sandrine Therrien, Podiatrist
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My objectives in coming to Togo were to offer my help in Dr. Kpini’s clinic. It consisted not only in bringing medical material, but also in offering my specialty in Podiatry/Orthopedics while offering free or low -cost treatments to the local population.
I must admit that it is my first experience, not only in Togo, but also in Africa. I needed time to adapt to the environment and to learn how to do things the African way. Once I felt comfortable, I was able to get my projects going.
At Dr. Kpini’s clinic, I conducted general consultations and visited patients in the hospital. I could provide treatments. Patients did not have to pay for medication and dressings. I shared everything I gad with patients. General consultations were very diverse and included, for instance, hypertension, paludism, parkinson, gastric ulcers, inguinal hernia, impotence, stroke (CVA), sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
I also conducted two free feet clinics: one at the Adeta CMS and the second one at Dr. Kpini’s clinic. I treated wounds linked to Buruli ulcers, Nematode (Dracunculus medinensis), and Diabetis.
I witnessed pain caused by knee and ankle arthrosis, flat feet ; I had to dress wounds, give corticosteroid shots , put longitudinal pads to support the arch. I also saw peripheral neuropathy problems, knock-knee (genu varum) caused by vitamin deficiency and growth plate. There were also cases of lower limbs of different lengths.
I did help in the Operating Room with general surgery as well as with Podiatric procedures. We did an external fixation for an open fracture of the tibia; we performed a skin graft; manipulations under general anaesthesia for a congenital problem of patella alta. Moreover we carried out a caesarean section, inguinal hernia and inguino-scrotal, one lumpectomy in a child’s neck and other various cases.
At Jehovah-Jire CMS, I trained nursing students on how to dress wounds, stitches and nutrition.
Outside of the clinical community, I put on a learning day on sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV/AIDS screening. In the village called Atime, out of the 82 patients who were screened, only one was found positive. The 18 remaining tests were conducted among the staff of the Jehovah-Jire Clinic. Following discussions with the Head of the Lab and the Psychologist, it seems that the number of VIH cases is going down.
Furthermore, I went to a Primary School in the village of Konda to make children aware of such issues as water conservation/contamination and waste management. The same awareness was introduced at the Tsiko CEG.
In order to better understand the medical structure in Togo, I had the opportunity to visit the German Hospital in Agou and the American Hospital in Tsiko. Even though I was not in a position to help these establishments, understanding how these hospitals have been structured would help me in a potential volunteer mission.
In closing, I would like to thank the people who helped me, welcomed me and made my volunteer mission possible, starting with my host family who considered me as one of them, and my gratitude to Dr Kpini and to his staff; they helped and supported each of my projects. I also would like to underline the importance of Mr. Alouka and his organization in the realization of my mission. I would also like to note the work and cooperation of the staff at CMS Adeta. Least but no less, I express my sincere thanks to the community of Adeta for welcoming and supporting me.