Chuck just got back from a 2.5 week trip to Mbingo. It was the first time Chuck has been to Mbingo without the family. It was hard leaving Angela and the kids, but it was great to be back to see our "Mbingo family". Here are a few photos from his time there.
Chuck and JR Young (pediatrician) traveled together to Mbingo this time. JR is actually still there working for another 1.5 weeks. Chuck came back sooner since we are planning on returning for about 6 weeks this summer (with Angela and the kids!).
Chuck brought an internal medicine resident with him from Charlotte. This is Dr. Stephen Beasley rounding on the men's ward with 2 of the African internal medicine residents and a house officer. Stephen is doing a great job and will be staying for another 1.5 weeks to finish his month long rotation. He has been rounding/teaching on the wards, leading conferences, and doing procedures.
Stephen has already matched into a GI fellowship for next year. This picture shows him trying to load the esophageal bands onto the six shooter by hand while Denis (endoscopy tech) looks on. This device is used to treat esophageal varices (enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus at risk of bleeding usually from liver disease). Chuck was able to start teaching him to do EGDs while at Mbingo and he continues to improve. He will have plenty more time to learn endoscopy in fellowship, but this was his first and likely his last time to load the esophageal bands by hand!
Dr. Kamdem (recent CIMS graduate) who Chuck taught to do EGDs and colonoscopies has become quite proficient. Here he is looking on as he teaches one of the 4th year CIMS residents, Dr. Christelle, to do an EGD. This is incredibly exciting to see those residents that we have taught passing on their knowledge to the next group of residents. This is happening on the wards, in clinic, in conferences, and with procedures. God is using this residency program to affect the quality of medical care that Cameroonians will have in the future.
Chuck was able to spend some time with Dennis Palmer (CIMS program director) while at Mbingo. Dennis was just returning from India where he was formalizing a partnership with the Christian Medical College at Vellore. This is an incredible hospital that serves the Lord by providing medical care in India and is able to provide essentially all of the services we would expect from a large hospital in the US. Our CIMS (Christian Internal Medicine Specialization) residents at Mbingo are going to be able to do 4-6 month rotations at this hospital as part of their training. We are very excited about this opportunity. Dr. Kamdem (pictured above) just returned from spending 3 months at Vellore to advance his GI technique in endoscopy.
Here are 3 of the 4 new CIMS residents. From the left, Dr. Ntumsi, Dr. Nina, and Dr. Tadfor. Unfortunately, Dr. Nkweta was on vacation and missed the picture. These 4 residents have been a great addition to the CIMS program. Chuck enjoyed working with each of them on the wards, in the ICU, and in conferences.
This chest x-ray shows severe TB with a military pattern as well as cavitary lesions. It is also notable that it is a picture of a computer screen. Our digital x-ray at Mbingo is working well and is now being automatically uploaded to the new EMR system. Dennis Palmer has put an incredible amount of work into this. Most of us were doubtful that it would work given the other challenges we face at Mbingo, but it is working quite well. We are even able to pull up a patient's labs and imaging on our smartphones/tablets at the bedside.
Some of our patients try traditional medicines/therapies before coming to our hospital. Cutting is a type of traditional therapy in Cameroon. Small cuts are made in the skin at the site of pain or swelling in the hope that it will offer relief. We sometimes see the negative effects of this such as infection. This picture show a patient's leg with the small cuts visible. His leg was swollen from a blood clot (DVT) and the unpictured part of the leg also had cellulitis (infection) likely from the cuts.
Chuck was happy that he was able to be at Mbingo for Easter. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus starts early with a sunrise service on Mbingo Hill (which involves a pre-sunrise hike up the hill in the dark!). This procession up the hill is accompanied by drums, dancing, and singing. This picture shows part of the crowd singing and dancing just as the sun was rising.
After the mountain top sunrise service, the crowd walks down the hill and along the roads back to the church. Again, there is singing, dancing, and praising God the entire way. Once we arrived back at the church, there was a celebratory church service. The joy of Easter is so easy to see among the believers in Cameroon.
A trip to Mbingo would not be complete without some incredible hiking. This picture shows Dennis Palmer leading Chuck (and JR who is taking the picture) on a new route. We went through farms, over wooden plank bridges, up the right side of the mountain range and then wrapped back around behind the prominent mountain in the distance (aka half dome).
This picture was from a hike on a different day. We were able to get to the top of a mountain that looks down on an incredible waterfall. The rains have started at Mbingo, so the waterfalls are starting to strengthen and the landscape is quickly turning green again.
Chuck and JR bought this load of mangos, pineapples, avocados, bananas, and papayas on the way to Mbingo and then finished it all in less than 2 weeks. There are many things we miss when we are not at Mbingo and this is certainly one of them. More importantly, we miss our Mbingo family and the ability to serve those in need, teach the residents and other learners, and share the love of God with patients that travel near and far to receive medical care. We are looking forward to the next trip in July!