Vijayawada, India, March 2010
Local host and coordinator was Dr. Lakshmi Saleem. Our team consisted of 3 female surgeons including Dr. C. Neuhann-Lorenz (President WomenForWomen, Munich, Germany) and Dr. A. Pusic (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA) who gave overwhelming support. The third surgeon was Dr. S. Stergioula (resident at the department for Plastic, Reconstructive and Burn Surgery Bogenhausen, Munich, Germany).
Patient recruitment took place on behalf of Dr. Lakshmi at the Salaja Hospital of Vijayawada as well as at the CARE–Hospital Banjara/Hyderabad. We are grateful for the support of Dr. Soma Raju for preparing the mission and providing the facilities in Hyderabad and the area of Vijayawada. Patient screening and following treatment was performed from March 1st, 2010 until March 5th, at the Salaja Hospital of Vijayawada .
50 patients were screened and 26 received subsequent surgical treatment. Medical records were kept to grade the need and possibilities for immediate surgical treatment during the mission. According to the presented cases and local facilities, the schedule for the next day was organized. During the screening and physical examination, patient information with respect to the individual condition was given. Informed consent for those receiving surgery and photographic-records were obtained, according to the WomenForWomen programme guidelines. The majority of patients presented with post-burn scars probably due to domestic violence.
Two cases touched the WomenForWomen team especially, who desired to tell their story in the public. Devi met domestic violence, as her abusive husband threw scalding “rasam” on her hand. Ever since she has been suffering from severe contractures of her left hand. Another female patient, Shri Lakshmi, presented with a similar injury again after her husband’s attack. Both women received surgical treatment by the WomenForWomen team. Since social rehabilitation and reintegration, is a central focus of the WomenForWomen project we are proud to announce, that Shri Lakshmi has been employed at Salaja Hospital, where she now receives training as a nurse. Such encouraging progress of our patients motivates us to continue with our work.
At Salaja-Hospital we encountered an excellent local team including physicians and nursing staff, that were at the disposal for the WomenForWomen mission. Only with this excellent support were we able to perform the great number of surgeries in spite of the non expandable time frame during this mission.
WomenForWomen owes special thanks for this mission to:
Gaby Rapp medical suppliers for donating surgical instruments, woundcare material and OT sterile material.
The Indian branch of B. Braun AG (Mr. J. Ramesh), for supporting our mission by donating woundcare material and local anaesthesia medication.
The Fortune Murali Park Hotel offered drastically reduced rates for the accomodation in Vijayawada and supplied our team with every comfort and excellent service after our long working days.
The Salaja Hospital providing tasty and healthy meals and drinks, which framed our stay with a friendly and pleasant atmosphere.
Rooms for physical examination and OTs, that met western hygiene standards were provided by the Salaja Hospital.
WomenForWomen owes special thanks Dr. Saleem, for the surgical side and the anaestheologists who were of indispensable help as the “MenForWomen-team” as they named themselves during the mission.
The local press showed great interest for our mission, mirrored in participation of 50 journalists at the press conference. So a public platform was created, where victims like our patient Devi could inform others about their atrocious fate and encourage them to look for opportunities to receive help.
We left Vijayawada very grateful for the overwhelming assistance for our work leaving behind new friends in the local population and among our patients, who showed new hope for their future life.
Meanwhile two post-op examinations were conducted by the local team of Salaja Hospital reported all patients with successful results up to this point of time.