The project started in 2017 with Golfini Rossi onlus continues and grows

9 October 2019 - It's a boy named Henry who pierces the darkness of the African night, in Mvimwa, Tanzania, where over 30 doctors, postgraduates and university students are working with passion and enthusiasm in the monastery's dispensary. After hours of labor, thanks to the Gynecology team, the beating heart of the mission around which the university cooperation project di UCBM and Golfini Rossi onlus is filled with joy. It is Enrico Davoli's birthday, a surgeon at the University Hospital on a mission, and the newborn baby takes his name from him. "A blessing", say the aid workers. “Yesterday, my group of friends in blue overalls delivered a baby in the middle of the savannah,” writes an emotional student.

Thus begins the training journey of the students UCBM who, accompanied by more expert doctors and teachers, are currently experimenting with the practice of medicine in a particularly poor and disadvantaged context. The Benedictine monastery of Mvimwa and its dispensary are both the base and the starting point from which the healthcare activity also extends to the Namanyere district hospital, as well as to the surrounding villages where doctors are doing their utmost with prevention and screening activitiesing. From here, cases requiring urgent care and interventions are transported to the Namanyere hospital where the surgical team deals with the correction of umbilical and incisional hernias which are very common in the local population, partial thyroidectomies, removal of lipomas, bilateral adnexectomies for ovarian cysts , appendectomy and caesarean sections both elective and emergency.

There are certainly communication difficulties with the patients but with the help of the monks and the local staff, the students soon have a list of the necessary questions translated into Swahili to conduct the anamnesis. These are days of visits, measurements, treatments and interventions.

The work of specialist teams

The neurological area is conducting a screening of the psychomotor functions of young people based on nutritional status as well as of newborns immediately after birth. You are also caring for a large number of pediatric patients suffering from epilepsy and movement disorders and adult patients with spinal pathologies. “There are also outcomes of infections, alcohol and toxic encephalopathies, neurological complications of AIDS and degenerative pathologies such as tremors and Parkinson's disease that need to be treated. It's the reason why – explains the neurologist Massimo Marano – we have started training a local doctor for the recognition and treatment of neurological diseases”.

Nunziata Nusca also speaks of diagnosis who is coordinating all the work of the cardiology team in a situation of great need where there is only one cardiologist in the entire district. "Many of these patients have never been seen by a specialist despite having cardiological problems", explains Dr. Nusca. "We brought with us an electrocardiograph and an ultrasound, devices not available here, for the diagnosis and management of cardiological pathologies ”. There is a lot of work and the means available, especially for interventions, are not there yet: “We are focusing in particular on the pediatric population, going to identify congenital heart defects, also associated with high mortality. Out of 120 patients currently screened, we have identified 3 seriously ill children who will require surgical or percutaneous intervention.

Also on a mission to Africa is Marcella Trombetti, of the services for the hospitality and care of the environments of the University Hospital, who together with the local nursing staff and the help of two students of Food and Human Nutrition Sciences is engaged in the accommodation of some patient rooms of the Mwimwa dispensary, as well as the pharmacy and warehouse. Cleaning, painting and setting up works with the collaboration of the two monks of the monastery, tailor and carpenter, have given way to setting up a daily and periodic cleaning program, which it is hoped will be the first step for the acquisition of new habits and standards.

A valuable work, what the community UCBM is taking place in Tanzania, thanks to the project started by Golfini Rossi onlus, chaired by Tiziana Bernardi, of the University Board of Directors, who joyfully talks about the progress and future projects such as that of the mobile clinic: "A mobile hospital is already ready in Italy, waiting to be shipped to Tanzania to bring assistance directly to the villages, overcoming the large how often fatal distances between patients and hospitals. By November the Mvimwa dispensary will be complete with a delivery and labor room and an operating room. We are progressing by leaps and bounds with the support of local institutions: in recent days we have received greetings from the governor of the Nkasi district, Said Mtanda, who met the students UCBM. Not only that, we participated in a public speech by the President of Tanzania who ringransacked our country twice." 

An overwhelming experience, as Benedetta, a medical student, testifies: "You realize that at first glance the droplet you placed in the middle of the sea may seem useless but in reality enthusiasm is more contagious than any infectious pathology we have studied and spingand also others to believe in your projects, so much so as to lead them to leave their own drop there... and who knows if together, from those singole droplets, can't we create a tsunami of life?”

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