Mission Report: Chittagong, Bangladesh from 23 to 28 November 2016
(Exterior of Nurture General Hospital)
Buried in the hustle and bustle of a sprawling seaport city, amongst paddy fields and a maze of roads filled with street peddlers and crazy tricycle ‘CNG’ taxis whizzing past, was the small 6 storey building that housed Mdm Nasreen Baqui’s Nurture General Hospital. Away from the chaos of the Chittaggonian roads, where no traffic lights or road rules hold true, our team from Singapore (comprising of 10 surgeons and 2 anesthetists) found our response in the operating theatres where we performed 70 operations in 69 patients -69 inguinal hernias and 1 hydrocele over a period of 3.5 days.
(Our team members: Top row – Rajesh, James, Darren, Zhongxi, Yexin.
Bottom row – Sing Ying, Chok, Shuhui, Norman, Yvonne, Jacklyn, Siok Yen)
We arrived on the evening of the first day, after an internal flight from Dhaka to Chittagong, and immediately started screening patients and planning out the workflow and logistics. All of the hernias were done under local anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia for the larger ones, using the open Lichtenstein repair. Each day began with a ward round to review all the patients that were operated upon the day before, and discharge those who were well. Following which we would spend the day in theatre where we had 5 operating tables going on simultaneously, and then end in the evening by reviewing our post-ops and screening more patients for the following day.
(Nisha, a local medical student, assisting our team in a surgery)
(Our anesthesia team – Zhongxi and Jacklyn, ensured that our operations were carried out smoothly)
Nasreen, her twin sons Yasir and Yamin, as well as her local support team were quintessential to the execution of this mission. They provided us with the most wonderful hospitality by accomodating us in a pleasant hotel, ensuring we had delicious warm meals and always going the extra mile to ensure all our needs and requests were met. We will never forget the smiles of gratitude on the faces of the patients, nor the enthusiasm of the local volunteers who were ever ready to help with translations. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves on the mission and are looking forward to our trip back!
(One last group photo before we head home!)