When did you stay at Masanga?
From May 5. to May 30. 2013
What was your motivation for going to Masanga?
On a visit to Trondheim in November 2012 I met with Håkon Bolkan and Brynjulf Ystgaard. They told me about Capacare and the STP program in Sierra Leone and invited me to join in. I found the concept of task-shift in surgery very interesting. Being a retired but experienced surgeon I felt I had something to contribute to the program as a teacher in surgery, and decided to go to Masanga for four weeks. I was very happy to go to Masange together with an experienced OP nurse Jorun Korsvik and to colabourate with her in teaching and practical surgical work.
What was your first meeting with Masanga like?
It was hot and humid. We were welcomed by friendly, smiling people in the hospital and in the village. It was jungle and mangos. On the day of arrival, we were confronted with a strangulated groin hernia and had to resect 150cm small bowel.
What was your main duties while at the hospital?
Practical and theoretical surgical teaching/training. There were four STP students at Masanga, Mohamed, Joseph, Isata and Ishmael. They were interested and eager to learn. It was a pleasure to teach them.Before we left, each of them had performed two Bassini repairs by themselves under supervision. I think each of them has the potential to become good “surgeons”. In addition to teaching, we also were consulted in different surgical cases.
What have you learned from this experience?
It is astonishing how much you can achieve even when resources are very limited. And, it is possible to teach Community Health Officers to perform common surgical procedures
What is your advice to others that are thinking about going to Sierra Leone and Masanga?
To teach surgery at the STP program at Masanga is meaningful and rewarding. I f you go there, try to bring with you relevant suture material, gloves, hoods and facemasks. It would also be wise to bring two sets of scrub ( to leave behind when you go home).