A Successful Screening.

Africa, Documentary, Mercy Ships

Well we had our screening day on Saturday, and it went very smoothly. We had security teams present at the site from 2pm the previous day and there was no trouble at all. Due to the chaos of the last screening three weeks of hard work had been put in to make sure this screening was rigorously planned and efficient. By the end of the day a little under 300 patients had been accepted and scheduled for surgery.

We arrived around 5.30am and the set up began.

The Pharmacy building was the selected screening site, lit up white behind the road. Security made sure cars didn’t stop to drop people off at the start of the line.

Above: Nurses pray before the pre-screening starts.

Pre-screeners wait outside the gate. They will not make a certified diagnosis but have enough medical knowledge to know whether or we may be able to help. It is at these gates that hundreds were turned away.

The line went on down the road into the distance. The early arrival of security meant that the queue was straight and ordered.

Patients area asked to get up as the screening process commences.

Pre-screeners raise their hands to indicate they are ready to see a new person. The potential patients are then escorted to them by Mercy Ships staff.

Above: Maaike Rademaker, the Ward Nurse General Team Leader inspects and admits a woman for screening inside the compound.

Above: A young girl with severe burn scars gets admitted for an operation on her neck to allow greater mobility.

Above: Ben and Sam direct prescreened patients into the compound.

The compound starts to fill up after 7am.

Above: A baby gets weighed before being screened by doctors. Below: Patients get taken round the back of the building to complete the screening.

Above: Michelle shares a smile with the burns girl while she waits to be scheduled for surgery.

Above: This baby is just one month old. She was taken straight to Palliative Care. Unfortunately the family lives too far out to take part in the palliative care program. Harriet, the palliative care nurse gave her some medecine to ease the pain, but medically can do nothing more. Perhaps one day Mercy Ships will expand their palliative care program in the countries they visit.

Above: Safia, the patient at the bottom of the picture with huge benign tumour waits to be screened. The doctors are still waiting to see whether or not they can operate on him. The extent of the tumour needs to further be defined with scans etc.

Above: An unusual patient with two left feet waits in the queue with her mother.

Above: A young cleft lip patient waits with his father.

Above: A mother and baby exchange a look as the nurse takes down the babies details.

Above: Jane White, the screening coordinator examines a boy in the screening tent.

Above: Jeff hands out water to waiting patients who received food as well.

Above: Dr Gary Parker (right) the chief surgeon examines a patient with a small benign tumour.

Above: The last patient of the day waits alone to be scheduled for a surgery.

The almost 300 patients scheduled for surgery was under the target of 500 but another screening will be organised in July or August. The very fact it went without trouble was a huge relief for everyone on the field service. Below: Liz Espeland (Assistant Ward Supervisor) who’s been with the ship for the past three years comforts a baby as the day draws to a close.

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