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Medical teams from Global Health Initiatives (GHI) have been traveling twice a year for 6 years to Rwanda to provide surgical care for patients in the area around Mugonero Hospital on the shores of Lake Kivu in the Western area of Rwanda.  This is the third trip for Peter Janes, M.D. and his team from Summit.

Today, July 23, Patti Janes, Deb Edwards and Lynda Kithil depart for Kigali.  They will arrive Tuesday evening and travel on Wednesday to Rilima where Dr. Janes and his colleague, Paula Enrietto, are conducting training sessions for the club foot program.

On Sunday, Dr. Janes, Susan Zayas-Gruber, Kay Roth, Paula Enrietto and I will travel to Mugonero Hospital along with the Orphanage and Building Teams.  We will set up Monday morning to prepare for surgery while Dr. Janes screens potential surgical candidates.  Hopefully, we will be able to begin surgery in the afternoon.

Matthew Cowell, Dr. Carlton Clinkscales and Patti will remain in Kigali to work at King Faisal Hospital where they will care for those who need the skills of a hand surgeon. They will join us at Mugonero late Thursday morning to hopefully operate in the afternoon on a patient with severe burns.

In the past, we have taken everything we need to conduct a successful surgical program.  This year, the Ministry of Health for Rwanda is requesting that we comply with their policies governing what can bring into the country. This is proving to quite a challenge in part due to the difference in languages.  It has been difficult to interpret just what their requirements ask and what they have available for purchase. We always tell our trip participants that being flexible is the order of the day, to expect the unexpected.  This will be a great test of that premise!

The majority of the patients we see will have old fractures which either healed incorrectly or not at all.  It is rare to see a "fresh" injury.  These patients come from all around the area, some from great distances. Few will come by car, some will come on a motorbike, but many will walk. They all have in common the anticipation that our team will be able to help them! 

I have often marveled at the fact that these patients come to us, having never seen us, knowing nothing about us other than we have traveled a great distance to help them.  They are willing to do as we recommend, in a language which is foreign to them. They accept all this with faith and hope for an improvement in their physical need.  It is heartbreaking when we cannot help them!

The team will stay on the hospital campus; there are no other lodgings around. No village, no town.  We are isolated there; it is very peaceful and beautiful.  We develop new friendships and gain insight into another culture, another people. And we are grateful.

Lynda Kithil

Lynda Kithil is an RN. She has been on countless international trips and is working as a scrub nurse at the hospital in Mugonero. Lynda is an expert IPad user and a professional bird watcher.

About the Rwanda Medical Missionary trip
Dr. Peter Janes of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics and a medical team will be traveling to Rwanda July 22-August 11 on a medical missionary trip. The group will be providing no-cost surgical, medical and community health programs, education, training and relief in an area where health care is often limited or difficult to obtain. Most surgeons fled the African country or were killed during the major genocide in 1994.

The group involves 20 participants, eight from Summit County, working on seven defined projects. Dr. Janes will be performing surgeries and conducting workshops to train local health care providers on how to correct club foot in newborns. This year he will be at three different hospitals; Rilima, Mugonero and CHUK, for a week each. In addition, there is a surgical team at King Faisal hospital in Kigali, working at the orphanage, and a team building a gazebo at Mugonero.