Friday, March 20, 2009

How I got on board

I'm a photographer at the Medical University of south Caroline. I cover patient stories and shoot about everything that goes on in a hospital.

I was asked by a co-worker Kathleen Ellis at The Medical University of South Carolina to join her for a meeting with Dr. Ellegala a neuro surgeon at about a program he was starting in Tanzania.

To the short of it, Dr.Ellegala called the Tanzanian government two years prier and asked if he could donate his services as a neuro surgeon for six months. They said yes and pointed him to a outpost mission hospital in northwestern Tanzania named Haydom. When he arrived he realized he was the only neuro surgeon in Haydom and in the whole of Tanzania there were only two. He was the first in the bush. He met a quick understudy named Myaga (not sure on the spelling). Myaga had the training equivalent of a paramedic in the states. In six months he trained Myaga to be a proficient neuro surgeon. Most of the operating was done with little or no electricity or modern tools. Hand drills and saws, head lamps for light, hand bagging the patient and a person in the room with a hand held fly swatter.
Dr. Ellegala didn't want to ride in treat people and ride out, leaving them dependent on westerners. He wanted to teach physicians in there environment so they would learn local, stay local and treat local. If they trained in a city most likely they would not return to their town or village. He is returning to Tanzania and Haydom to start his program and I wanted to document what it is like to do neuro surgery in the bush.

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