This past month we crossed over 2 significant numbers here at Kibuye Hope Hospital. The first number is 1,000. 1,000 = the number of major operations done here since January 2014 when I started operating here. This does not include the 450 endoscopies, nor does it include the 1,600+ minor surgeries nor the 800+ c-sections that others have done in this time period, nor all of the gynecological operations that Rachel has performed.
The other number is 100, which is the number of SIGN nails that have been done here since we started them in March of 2014. SIGN nails are an ingenious system of fixing broken legs by inserting a metal rod through the bone to stabilize it. It allows the patient to be out of bed the next day, rather than spending months in bed with traction or months in a cast. Perfect for the developing world, the SIGN nail does not require all the expensive and sensitive equipment that nails in the West require. In fact I have put in some SIGN nails when the electricity is off with just a headlight.
Two reflections... first, there is a well-known African proverb which says "it takes a village to raise a child." The same goes for getting an operation done. God has compiled an amazing surgical/hospital team which has enabled an increased capacity and quality in the ORs. We can now routinely do 6 major operations in a day, but this requires electricity, oxygen, stocked sutures, efficient cleaners, sterilizers, organized instrument sets, and good scheduling, among a multitude of other things. It is no easy task to even pull off even one operation in rural Africa. I am very thankful for a surgery team that is molding together well.
Secondly, I see it fitting that the 100th SIGN nail that was done here at Kibuye was done by my surgical interns - I didn't even need to scrub in. In fact, I was giving a lecture to medical students at the time, because I was confident in their ability to do a good job, and indeed, they did. I feel that this encapsulates much of what we are trying to do here - training the next generation of African medical professionals in their own setting to provide excellent care for their own people.
We are already looking forward to the next 1,000 cases and the next 100 SIGN nails.