Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Patients on Deck 7 Dr. Tamba

On Wednesday, Sierra Leone celebrated 50 years of Independence. I went up to Deck 7 where our patients go for some fresh air and to be outside. Tamba, one of our orthopaedic patients, decided he was going to check out my heart with a stethoscope and make sure it is good.

Hope Center Modular Toilet Opening

We have worked hard to have a HOPE Center where our patients who no longer need to be in the hospital wards, but still need to visit the ship for outpatient care and they live too far away. The Center is a safe place they can stay - it is within walking distance of the ship. We purchased and assembled a modular toilet block and this was the day of commissioning.

Hospital Reception

Hospital Reception by keith.brinkman
Hospital Reception, a photo by keith.brinkman on Flickr.

We had the great opportunity to host the Minister of Health and many of her staff and other healthcare professionals for our Hospital Reception. The event was held in the International Lounge with a tour and refreshments afterwards - primarily hosted by our Hospital crew members.

Civic & Media Reception

One of the early events we hold on board is our Civic & Media Reception. We were a bit delayed this year due to various reasons. The photo is of our receiving line, just inside the ship. Our leaders had a time of sharing from the front of the International Lounge and then I had the privilege to be a tour guide for a group to see the ship, our hospital and our home.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2nd Mass Screening

2nd Mass Screening by keith.brinkman
2nd Mass Screening, a photo by keith.brinkman on Flickr.

After the difficulties with the first mass screening and with much consultation we did a second one on Saturday the 26th of March with over 3,000 people coming and about 300 came into the compound to see if they were a suitable surgical candidate.

Schools Visit with Simeon Lunch

After visiting school rural schools, our group was hosted at one school for a lunch before the long drive back to Freetown.

Schools Visit / Name Tag

During visit to rural schools in the province, I put my name tag on this young man - after we showed everyone the photo of the ship on the back.

Schools Visit

While visiting some rural schools, I tried to connect with the children - those from the school and those just from the neighborhood. It took great courage for this little guy to 'shake' my hand. I actually took part of this photo and posted as my profile photo on Facebook.

Schools Visit - little guy

During a visit with one of our board members, we went out to see some rural schools. I don't think some of the little ones have seen a white man - this little guy was not too sure what to do - even though the older ones had already given me 'five' (slapped my hand).

Walk to Town

Walk to Town by keith.brinkman
Walk to Town, a photo by keith.brinkman on Flickr.

A random photo during a walk to town - Freetown here in Sierra Leone - when driving it is a great challenge to weave through the people and not to hit/nudge someone as you are driving.

UK Facilitators for conferences

UK Facilitators by keith.brinkman
UK Facilitators, a photo by keith.brinkman on Flickr.

A group shot of the UK facilitators for the two conferences - Anaesthesia and Midwifery. Most were here for a week on board as the conferences were three days in length. Enjoyed my time with them.

Anaesthesia Conference - Dr. Paul

At a local hospital, we conducted an Anaesthesia Conferences over 3 days with anaesthetists from all over Sierra Leone and with 20 of their trainees. Here Dr. Paul who was a short term crew member share with them some practical aspects.

Midwifery Conference

Midwifery Conference by keith.brinkman
Midwifery Conference, a photo by keith.brinkman on Flickr.

UK midwives working with midwives here in Sierra Leone - using models as they teach and learn together.

Midwifery Conference Apr11

Improving Maternal Care was one of the conferences I assisted with logistics as a group of midwives came from the UK and the course for 28 Sierra Leone midwives was held at a local hospital. Here they are reviewing how to do sutures.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

KRB Update - Screening, Conferences, Patient Visitation

KRB Update #2165 Keith R. Brinkman Sierra Leone April 9, 2011 Greetings from Sierra Leone, known as Salone in the local language of Krio. Thank you for your prayers and concern related to our surgical screening. After much consultation, we conducted another large screening on Saturday the 26th of March at the National Pharmacy building in town. Approximately 3,000 people came seeking our assistance and about 300 were admitted into the compound for the visits to the stations to determine if the person was a good surgical candidate. I served as a ‘patient escort’ – getting the potential patients and their caregivers to the next stop in the process. Between one side of the building to the next, I would take a group and I would walk backwards as I learned when conducting tours of the ship – I would joke with one or two in the front of my group to have them watch in case I run into someone or if I was about to fall. Towards the end of the day, I was following five children needing orthopaedic assistance including girls from the same orphanage. After consideration by the surgeons, three of the five were scheduled for surgery and I look forward to welcoming them to the Africa Mercy later this month. Anaesthesia Conference & Midwifery Conference: I assisted on behalf of the ship to facilitate these two conferences held at a nearby government hospital. For the Anaesthesia Conference, there were both 59 anaesthetists and 20 trainees who came for the 3 days of training conducted by speakers from the UK. Another group also from the UK conducted the ‘Improving Maternal Care’ conference in another part of the hospital with 28 trained midwives. I have done this for several years and it is a privilege to be a small part in seeing this possible. Believing that through capacity building/training, we will see improvements in the health care services available for the people of this country.

Patient Visitation: I love being able to daily visit the patients in the hospital wards, just down the hall from my office and one deck below my cabin or up on Deck 7 port side where we can get some fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun. We have translators available to assist, though we have had some patients from the nearby nation of Guinea and they speak French and local languages – so I have tried my limited French – if only I could put the dictionary under my bed and wake up speaking the French language. We have many children on board for orthopaedics and for maxillofacial surgeries. Though sometimes the desired results are not possible and the father or mother have to leave without any change in their child – difficult for them and their expectations – as was the case for little Christian who has club feet. Though, most of the time the patient and caregiver, like Mr. Jah and his son, leave rejoicing and very thankful for the time in the hospital and for their healing on board the Mercy Ship. More Facts for Sierra Leone: * Infant mortality rate 78 deaths per 1,000 live births * 2 physicians per 100,000 people * Languages: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende, Temne, Krio (English-based Creole, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)