Sunday, December 20, 2015

Meet our team! What is MCB?

Meet our team!

This is the Mercy Ships Medical Capacity Building department (MCB).  MCB is the term we use for any Mercy Ships program that is investing teaching, training, mentoring, classes, etc. into the local healthcare system.  We have the unique opportunity to using our floating hospital as a training platform.  Most of you who keep up with our blog already know that Nick and I are involved with the Ponseti Clubfoot Clinic, where Nick is heading up a program to teach clubfoot correction at the local public hospital, but did you know Mercy Ships MCB also runs the following programs...this is a busy department!


OBF (Obstetric Fistula) Mentoring Project:  Our amazing friend Amy is leading this one- Mercy Ships is mentoring a group of local nurses in the specific care of women with childbirth injuries.   
To learn more from Amy about the project click here
And READ THIS AWESOME POST from Amy called "kings and queens" on the impact it is already making.

Sterile Processing Mentoring Program: This one's led by our friend Christina, she teaches about sterile processing (how to safely clean and sterilise the instruments used in the operating room). Awhile ago, I wrote this post about my involvement in her program in Congo and the profound effect it had on me (so much that I went off and became registered as a sterile technician so I had some knowledge in that area too).  This is so, so needed. 
Click here to see the webpage for Christina's organisation.

Biomedical Training Course: This is another often overlooked but desperately needed area for development.  Biomed technicians are responsible to maintain and repair hospital equipment. All to often, simple repair needs mean that essential hospital equipment stands around unused and collecting dust. 

Mercy Ships WHO Checklist Team: I love this project! Quote from this Mercy Ships blog post: "The World Health Organizaiton (WHO) Safe Surgery Saves Lives Surgical Safety Checklist (aka. the Checklist) is a simple tool that helps the surgical team to improve safety in surgery and has been proven to decrease operating room mortality by nearly 50%, as well as significantly decrease surgical complications and infections.
It doesn’t require fancy equipment or expensive drugs; meaning it can have as large of an impact in Dallas or Minneapolis as it does in Beijing or Nairobi or Toamasina."

Courses: Mercy Ships partners with other organisations who have established excellent curriculum for low-resource environments.  The courses are run 4-6 times each during our 10 month visit, examples are: Essential Surgical Skills, Primary Trauma Care, Essential Pain Management, and courses focusing on safe anaesthesia for children and pregnant women. 

One last link to another article, this one from Dr. Mark Shrime, one of the maxillofacial surgeons who often visits the ship. Quote from his article: "Currently, infectious disease interventions are the main focus of global health policies, because many countries lack the personnel and infrastructure to carry out surgical interventions successfully. Despite the fact that nearly one-third of human disease is amenable to surgery, it remains overlooked in much of the world....To put this in perspective, H.I.V., tuberculosis and malaria — which have captured the global conversation — currently make up less than one-tenth of the global disease burden, combined."

Taking steps towards change within a healthcare system is a huge undertaking and requires immense amounts of partnership and patience. Within the Mercy Ships MCB department, we have the opportunity to carry out Mercy Ships's mission of bringing "hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor" within the context of serving local healthcare professionals.  We see God doing marvellous things through these programs- there is something so good and right and beautiful about coming alongside local departments and saying "we believe in you and want to invest in you and the work you do". This is an opportunity for hope and healing, too.

Here's a few glimpses into the training that happens each day we spend out at the Ponseti Clinic.  We love the team we get to work with and really care about their work as professionals and each of them as individuals.  It is a privilege to come alongside them for these months and work together so that families of children born with clubfoot in this region can find good treatment!

And here's a few bonus pictures of some cute kiddos!  Every day when the patients come in to get a new plaster put on, the mamas soak off the old ones in a bath tub outside the clinic.  The mamas have to be so committed to this treatment, it means coming to lots of appointments and carrying around their child with heavy plaster casts on their legs for weeks.  When one mama's baby finished treatment and the final casts came off, the mama exclaimed "oh he's so light to pick up now!"

We really enjoy getting to know these ladies and rejoicing with them on the progress in their children's feet!

We have a ponseti baby doll which is really popular with the kids, here's Toto playing with him on the day his last casts came off and he got fitted for braces.

Here's Toto trying out his newly straight foot!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

home sweet cabin 4428

Here's a quick look inside the lovely cabin we get to call home! :)

Life is so different here on the ship with a couple's cabin- I'm still not 100% used to having so much storage space!  

Our window is a bit foggy (I can't clean the glass on the outside :)) but the view is beautiful!  We can see looking across the water towards the shore- we can almost see the ponseti clinic.

I bought the tray on the right shelf here in Tamatave at the handmade goods market- I use it to get breakfast for us each morning.  I love the different colors of inlaid wood making the design.

We brought the chalkboard and a few other things with us from France to make our cabin feel like our own.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"
Good reminders on the wall :)

Thanks for reading our blog and sharing this journey with us!

Monday, November 30, 2015

October Update Part 2: Visit to the States!

Hello Friends!
The blog has been very quiet lately because we have been travelling.  And working.  Working a lot, but doing exactly what we came here to do and we love it! I can't believe how quickly the months are ticking by, sorry for the lack of updates, but I'll try to get us caught back up :)

In October, we had the opportunity to travel to the states for my brother Mark's wedding.  Thanks to an incredible team here on the ship, we were able to leave the Ponseti program temporarily in very capable hands so we could have some special time with family for a few weeks.

Autumn is my favourite season, and I haven't seen October in Indiana since 2011- it was so refreshing!

My sister is now a freshman at Purdue University- I'm so glad that her fall break was during our visit so that we had some time together!!

The boys had lots of time playing games with Nick :)

And Mark and Selina's wedding day was beautiful!!!  We were so grateful that we got to be there in person to celebrate with them.  

Selina you are stunning! And we are so glad that we get to have you for a sister!!!

We are so thankful for the time we got to spend just being together with family.  As a bonus, on our last day our flights got changed around and we ended up with one surprise extra day in Indiana.  We surprised the boys when they came home from school and had one more night of games and crafts.  :)

We celebrated an early 8th birthday, too! :)

My parent's pond gets so still in the evening and makes a perfect reflection, it's my favourite time of day.  

More updates coming soon on life here in Madagascar and the Ponseti program, thank you to everyone who keeps up with our journey- we appreciate you!