Photo Essay: Working at the Myungsung Christian Medical Center in Ethiopia

Angela Lee

My project was a practicum and a research project at Myungsung Christian Medical Center (MCM). MCM is a private, non-profit hospital, where I was under the supervision of a pediatric surgeon. I took part in both the clinics and the surgeries within the hospital, and I also participated in community outreach programs by MCM, such as the free of charge mobile clinics in rural communities. The research project was a retrospective study to calculate the backlog of defined pediatric surgeries at MCM, in order illustrate the gross lack of surgical accessibility in low and middle income countries in Africa.

Picture 1: Myungsung Christian Medical Center which is located in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The hospital consists of 2 wings: Shalom Wing and Grace Wing. The Shalom Wing is the original hospital complex. The Grace Wing was build in 2011, in order to accommodate more patients.

Picture 1: Myungsung Christian Medical Center which is located in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The hospital consists of 2 wings: Shalom Wing and Grace Wing. The Shalom Wing is the original hospital complex. The Grace Wing was build in 2011, in order to accommodate more patients.

Picture 2: The operating rooms at Myungsung Christian Medical Center and surgical team. Far left – Pediatric surgeon. Middle – 4th year medical student as first asssist. Right middle – Scrub nurse. Far right – Anesthesiologist. There are currently no medical residents affiliated with Myungsung Medical College as the medical program is only 4 years old. Therefore, it is not unusual to have the 4th year medical student as the first assist in non-complicated surgeries.

Picture 2: The operating rooms at Myungsung Christian Medical Center and surgical team. Far left – Pediatric surgeon. Middle – 4th year medical student as first asssist. Right middle – Scrub nurse. Far right – Anesthesiologist. There are currently no medical residents affiliated with Myungsung Medical College as the medical program is only 4 years old. Therefore, it is not unusual to have the 4th year medical student as the first assist in non-complicated surgeries.

Picture 3: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 1. Patient triage and blood pressure readings. Volunteers with the help of interpreters take down the chief complaint and basic patient information. I was the designated team member to take blood pressure measurements on Day 1.

Picture 3: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 1. Patient triage and blood pressure readings. Volunteers with the help of interpreters take down the chief complaint and basic patient information. I was the designated team member to take blood pressure measurements on Day 1.

Picture 4: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 2. Dressing change of an infected ulcer under the supervision of Dr. Shin (center).

Picture 4: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 2. Dressing change of an infected ulcer under the supervision of Dr. Shin (center).

Picture 5: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 3 Ethiopian medical students teaching the children about hand washing and dental hygiene. More than 125 children participated in the teachings and activities.

Picture 5: Mobile clinic in Hawassa: Day 3 Ethiopian medical students teaching the children about hand washing and dental hygiene. More than 125 children participated in the teachings and activities.

Picture 6: Interventional angiography inauguration ceremony. Opening address by Reverend Kim (far left). I served as Korean to English translator (second from the left).

Picture 6: Interventional angiography inauguration ceremony. Opening address by Reverend Kim (far left). I served as Korean to English translator (second from the left).

 

Angela Lee was awarded the Medical Class of ’84 Student Bursary in Spring 2016. She is currently a 3rd year medical student who believes everyone has the right of access to quality health care. Angela chose to travel abroad because she wanted a better understanding of the social and medical struggles that both the people and the medical staff face in low resource settings.

Elise in Haiti: Post-Travel Report

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By: Elise Vuille-Lessard

Award won:

The Global Health Travel Award for Postgraduate Medical Residents

Bio:

I am a PYG-3 in internal medicine based at the Royal Victoria Hospital. What made me want to participate in the McGill Internal Medicine Global Health Initiative in Haiti was the idea of a long-term partnership between McGill and Haitian doctors and of capacity building, rather than a one-time intervention.

Project Overview:

elise_photo

Elise in Haiti

This project is a one-month elective rotation where a team composed of internal medicine senior residents and staff from McGill works at Hopital St-Nicolas (HSN) in St-Marc, Haiti. This involves collaborating with local residents and staff as well as Zanmi Lasante/Partners in Health (ZL/PIH), the largest non-government health care provider in Haiti. The goal of this project is to maintain a partnership with ZL and the family medicine program at HSN (including exchanging knowledge, teaching, mentoring), while developing competencies for McGill residents in global health.

Lessons learned:

Change is so difficult to implement. Last year’s team had tried to implement the concept of a patient list on the ward, using whiteboards where you put the patient age, sex, diagnosis and plan. Unfortunately, the first day we arrived to the hospital, the whiteboards were empty. We re-emphasised this concept and did some positive reinforcement throughout the month, and finally the boards were being used when we left. Our fear was that residents would stop using them after we left, but 1 month later we were excited to learn that they were still in use. Change IS possible! I was sometimes discouraged thinking what we were doing was a wasted effort, that those interventions we were making would not stay. But when I learned that the whiteboards were still in use after we were gone, I suddenly felt like I had done something good and valuable.

Advice:

Students looking for a global health experience need to find a project that involves a long-term relationship with the local workers and try to avoid sporadic interventions. The main reason for that is that the time spent on-site is limited and maintaining the change afterwards becomes the most difficult challenge. One of the terms I learned with this project is “capacity building”, which includes finding ways of making an intervention sustainable.

 

This experience influenced my future career plans in many ways. I don’t know when I will participate again in a global health initiative, maybe not in the near future, but possibly later in my professional life. One thing this experience did reinforce is my desire to be a teacher. I certainly want to work in an academic setting and teach young people how to become better doctors, in regards to the medicine itself but also the human side of it.

 

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