John Dada writes:
Training with a world renowned rural surgeon
A team of two staff from Fantsuam Foundation undertook a two-week training at Awojobi Clinic, Eruwa (ACE). The team was full of admiration for the personal tutelage they received from world-renowned rural surgeon, Dr. Oluyombo Awojobi, the founder of ACE, and his team of dedicated staff. During their stay, the Fantsuam team had the rare privilege of working closely with Dr. Awojobi on his ward rounds, in the operating theatre, medical laboratories and in his biomedical engineering workshop.
Cheap and simple solutions
At ACE, the Fantsuam Foundation team had ample opportunity to observe Dr Awojobi’s appropriate technology approach, as he designs simple and cheap solutions to problems. He describes his approach in a WHO interview in 2010 http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/5/10-040510/en/index.html
Colostomy bags from bread wrappers
The Fantsuam team arrived at ACE with a long ‘shopping list’ of appropriate health technology solutions, including the use of inner tubes for pressure sore prevention, the design of a village ambulance, the safe disposal of clinical and faecal waste, the production of infusion fluids, etc. One of these ingenious ideas is the design of colostomy bags. In Dr Awojobi’s words “… just three articles are required: a nylon (plastic) bag commonly used to wrap bread, 5cm transparent sellotape and a razor blade to cut the tape”. The cost of a single drainable stoma bag is beyond the reach of the average rural patient but Awojobi’s colostomy bag is 15 times cheaper than the commercial version.
Three day return visit planned
To ensure that the Fantsuam team’s learning is reinforced, Dr Awojobi has offered to pay a three-day visit to Fantsuam Foundation in September. During his visit he will meet some of Fantsuam’s patients who need surgery such as hernia repairs, lump removals etc and operate on them within our rural setting.
This collaboration of Fantsuam Foundation, an NGO located in the rural north, with Nigeria’s foremost rural surgeon located in the southwest has been made possible through the small grants programme of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) www.africanpalliativecare.org in collaboration with the True Colours Trust.
Watch out for John’s next blog on Dr Awojobi’s visit to Fantsuam.