Honoring Anounou Sissoko and our Malian OBGYN Team

We’ve had 2 celebrations this week, first honoring Anounou, our Ouelessebougou Field Director.  He’s retired after 20 years of wonderful service.  We were happy to have him here in town for a few days and we gathered to honor him.   He has been a dear friend all these years and has helped us come to love the people of Mali.  He’ll be working with us in the future on our Malaria Project, so it’s not a final goodbye, thank goodness!

Next we had a dinner for the OBGYN group that returned from Mali a few weeks ago.  It was so fun to be with them and hear all the stories of their excellent service there.

Here’s a report from Ty Erickson, one of the OBGYN Doctors who went on the January expedition:

On Wed, Jan 18, 2023 at 12:31 PM Ty Erickson:

Ann & John,

Thought I would provide a brief summary review of last week in Mali. I’m sure you and Claire will get a debriefing from Stu and Celia.

Overall, perhaps the best and most productive humanitarian experience I have had in 35 years. Two primary reasons:

1. The composition of our group including three experienced surgeons, two (vs 1 last year) anesthesia providers and a well-trained and balanced preop, intraop and post op crew who functioned very well. Everyone truly pitched in and cross pollinated each other to take care of the patients with precision. Our OR turn around times were extremely fast. Everyone got along and I did not see any conflict at all.

2. Djiba and his team had pre-screened 89 patients with meticulous care so we were able to accomplish preops efficiently. The translation team did well and crew at the “compound” helped us feel safe.

One key component to our success was being allowed to use the second OR often throughout the week. Last year there was a lot of resistance to our team. Of course, we were new and they were a bit leery of our presence. This year our relationship with the staff at the hospital blossomed. We had some of the surgeons scrub with us during the week and we shared ideas both ways. We validated them as key people to help us be successful. I believe we will have such opportunities to collaborate in the future.

Last year we performed surgery on 22 patients. This year we did 39. Here is a breakdown of the surgical types:
In clinic we screened and treated 112 patients.

We operated on 39 patients and performed the following surgeries; some of which were quite complicated:

• 27 sacrospinous ligament suspensions. One was an anterior approach and one was both anterior and posterior approach.

• 4 mini slings added to the SSLF’s
• 1 transvaginal Burch colpopexy
• 2 paravaginal repairs
• 4 native tissue anterior repairs
• 4 vaginal hysterectomies:
• Three with myomas: 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 24 weeks.
• One was for pain
• 1 high uterosacral ligament suspension
• 2 cystoscopies
• 5 abdominal myomectamies for large fibroids.
• 1 supracervical hysterectomy with large fibroid.
• 1 ovarian debulking for extremely large ovarian tumor – 7 liters of fluid removed.
• 1 LEEP

Thanks to all who helped!
Bestu Kveðjur,
Ty B. Erickson, MD FPMRS

Sadly, Dr. Ty lives out of state and wasn’t able to come this evening, but most of team was here for dinner.  I applaud this group and am excited that they already can’t wait to return next year.  I’m so proud of Claire for her work last year and this, putting these teams together and helping them have great success with the Malian women.

I love people who give so much to help others.  What a gift these doctors, nurses, techs and support team are to others.  What an incredible gift they give!

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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