Mission to Burundi – May 2015

During May 2015, FIMAC sent the surgeons Prof. Vincenzo Monti, Dr. Pietro Ortensi, Dr. Stefano Carbone and Dr. Alfredo Antonucci, an anesthetist, on a mission to Burundi. They also accompanied a portable ultrasound machine of the latest generation to be donated to the hospital in Bubanza.

The team was not frightened away by news, before their departure, of a number of demonstrations against the government including serious accidents and protesters killed. Upon their arrival, a ghostly capital city, Bujumbura, greeted them. It was full of soldiers armed to the teeth scattered throughout the city with very few people around. Even the Sisters of Calcutta Rohero health center was strangely deserted as part of the population had fled to neighboring areas and those left in the city hardly wanted to approach this danger zone. Fortunately, the usual smiles of the sisters welcomed them as warmly as ever, giving them the right energy to start the mission.

The two week Bubanza mission was dedicated entirely to the management of patients, with thirty major orthopedic surgeries and nearly a hundred medical examinations. In addition, they were able to closely follow a young nurse who had had a reverse shoulder arthroplasty procedure performed through collaboration between FIMAC Onlus, Go Beyond Onlus (represented by Dr. Piero Petricca) and LIMA Corporate, a well-known Italian medical device company providing reconstructive orthopedic implants for various joints. Every day, this patient would have an hour of physical therapy helping her frozen shoulder to move more satisfactorily.

As usual, the two weeks were intense and full of work but this time the effort seemed harder due to the critical atmosphere in Burundi, political unrest, attempted coups, demonstrations with shots of gunfire, deaths and the increasing deterioration of basic necessities such as water and electricity. This state of affairs does not help the delicate situation in Burundi. We at the Foundation hope that these issues will be resolved quickly and, above all, that everything will turn out for the best for the suffering people of Burundi.

Stefano Carbone

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