Chris and Danièle plan to return in November 2011 to may 2012 and stay for six months. We intend to introduce some services and techniques that will be new to the country.
We will be taking with us the Ilizarov external fixator. The Ilizarov is a very powerful tool for the gradual correction of severe deformities, for lengthening of short legs and for the treatment of infected or non-infected non-unions. On our way to Burundi, we will be stopping over in Cairo to spend some time with world renowned Ilizarov surgeon Dr. Yasser Elbatrawy.
We took some rudimentary arthroscopy equipment with us last time but it didn’t work well. Now we are working on obtaining the necessary equipment (camera, television screen, instruments etc.) in order to perform arthroscopic surgeries with excellent visualisation. Thanks to Tony Simmons and Sandy Carter!
At present, there is no functioning fluoroscopy in the entire country. Fluoroscopy in a mobile X-ray machine that is connected to a television and gives real-time images. It is particularly necessary when repairing hip fractures because without it, it is necessary to open the hip joint which is difficult for the surgeon and very painful for the patient afterwards. Therefore, most hip fractures in Burundi are poorly treated or not treated at all and the patient very often becomes invalid for the rest of his/her life. Not only elderly patients but a surprising number of middle aged and younger patients get these fractures.
One of our priorities is to bring one or two of these machines to the country and it seems we may succeed.
The organisation CBM ( www.cbm.org) plans to organise, equip and fund two centers for the treatment of clubfoot in babies and children using the Ponseti technique. Similar projects have met with enormous success in Rwanda, Uganda and many other countries in the developing world. The project, which is to start in October 2011 will involve training of orthopaedic technicians to perform manipulations and apply casts and we intend to participate.
- Hip replacement surgery
At the present time, no joint replacements are being done in Burundi, yet many people are suffering from debilitating hip osteoarthritis and a lesser number from knee OA. People with these conditions have to travel to another country, usually India to have the procedure done at a cost of approximately 10 000 USD. Obviously this is out of the question for anyone who is not in the richest segment of society so the majority of sufferers go untreated.
When we return to Burundi, we will bring equipment and implants to perform total hip replacements. It is our intention to charge the wealthy patients a fair price in order to finance the poor patients who cannot pay.
As our project expands and becomes more ambitious we will certainly need help. We hope to interest other medical personnel to come and join us for a few weeks or more to examine patients, teach and perform surgeries. He or she could bring their spouse and combine the trip with a vacation. Burundi is a beautiful, friendly country, there are almost no tourists and it is certainly not dangerous if one avoids being hit by a car.