The following is a brief report of SAO’s work this year and also a gentle plea for you to consider a year end donation to support this endeavor. Now is a time when many individuals make charitable contributions, and we ask that you consider making SAO a beneficiary this year. We are an extremely efficient, all volunteer organization. 100% of donated money supports our work in one of the poorest countries on this planet.
In 2011 we sponsored two month-long trips to Ethiopia. About 25 nurses, doctors and technicians, largely from the Seattle area, came on each trip. Our overall goal is to help the training of residents and the care of patients at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many of you receiving this e-mail came on these trips and know first hand the desperate situation in that country.
We continue to concentrate on anesthesia, PACU, and surgical areas. We bring whatever equipment we are able — both through donations and purchase. We focus on sending equipment that the Black Lion Hospital requests. The list of items we have sent and installed is extensive. We are now up to about 20 tons. This is major medical equipment, not disposable random items. Most has been sent on Boeing delivery flights, but this Fall, by necessity, we also sent some 6 pallets by regular commercial UPS delivery. During our time in Africa we work one-on-one with their residents, attendings, nurses, and technicians. The fall 2011 also trip included six surgeons from Seattle (one from Minneapolis) who similarly are working to upgrade the surgical resident training at this teaching hospital.
We are interested in selective partnering with other organizations and indeed have formed excellent working relations with doctors from the University of Toronto, and the University of Bergen in Norway. Our relationship with these groups is dynamic and strong. Healing the Children, a Philadelphia based organization, approached us when we were in Addis this Fall and we have initiated a working partnership with them.
I would be dishonest if I painted a too rosy picture of our accomplishments. In truth, we have had our share of frustrations. The cultural differences are enormous and challenging. However, our successes have been significant and include:
–SAO has developed a strong relationship with the hospital and with several departments in the medical school. We have excellent relations with the departments of anesthesia, ENT, and general surgery. This is not a minor accomplishment; without mutual respect and good working relations, we could not accomplish anything.
–The department of anesthesia was not able to attract a single resident for the past 4 years. This year, however, they had 11 applicants for residency positions. They selected 5 new residents from these applicants. Thus there are now 5 new R1s in anesthesia who began their residency training this Fall. We feel SAO is directly responsible for the increasing interest in anesthesia training. The new equipment, coupled with new teaching energy has made a demonstrable difference.
–We created a PACU in the hospital. The Ethiopians designated this project as a high priority, and we were able to build out the room and install all the necessary equipment (oxygen lines, patient monitors, beds, etc.).
–We painted, rewired, and equipped their pediatric operating room.
–We began training and continue to help train their PACU nurses. This is ongoing and will likely continue as long as we’re working at this hospital. Of the 6 original nurses 4 left to work/teach in other PACUs through Ethiopia. It was disappointing to see these nurses depart, but they have been replaced and our work continues. The nurses that left are now teaching in other PACUs through out Ethiopia. Of note, we have had a terrific working relationship with Gro Hotvedt a nurse from Norway who has been working in the PACU at the Black Lion since we established it. Gro is dearly loved by SAO. She has carried on in the PACU and provided continuity. She will return to Norway in December, and will be greatly missed by our team.
–We began an epidural service for laboring patients on their OB ward. This included help from several Seattle OB nurses and obstetricians who helped train their OB nurses and OB residents on the effects of epidural analgesia on laboring patients. This service continues and is the first OB epidural service in this country of 80 million people.
— We delivered and installed literally tons of medical equipment: OR tables, patient monitors, surgical cautery units, OR lights, transformers (required because this country uses 220 voltage power, not the US standard 110 voltage).
–We have now started adding other medical specialties -notably ENT, general surgery, and colo-rectal surgery. We’ll continue this expansion and add other specialities as possible.
We’ve had a busy year. With your help we’ll continue our work on behalf of this desperate country. We are grateful for any contributions. Without supporters we would not be able to do any of this work. Contributions may be mailed to: SAO
1407 East Boston Street
Seattle, WA 98112
OR through pay pal on our website.
Thank you for your help,
The Board of Directors
Seattle Anesthesia Outreach,
Laura Adiele, RN
Julie Bourn, RN
Carla Brannen, RN
Mark Gibson, MD
Julian Judelman, MD
Jennifer Lee, MD
Chris Nunn, MD
Richard Solazzi, MD
Laura Sevonty, RN