Operation Smile’s Second Medical Mission in Ghana

Project location: GHANA, Accra
Project start date: July 2012 - Project end date: August 2012
Project number: 2012-010
Beneficiary: Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus

2012 Ghana Mission Report
Mission: Ghana Site: Accra
Date: 26th July - 3rd August 2012

Operation Smile returned to Ghana after six months from its Inaugural Mission to hold a second mission at the Ridge Hospital, Accra, from Thursday 26th of July to Friday 3rd of August.
The team comprised 47 medical and non-medical volunteers and staff.

Nationality breakdown: 
Canada: 1
Ethiopia: 1
Ghana: 7
India: 2
Ireland: 2
Italy: 6
Kenya: 3
Namibia: 1
Russia: 2
Sweden: 2
UK: 1
USA: 19
Specialties breakdown:
Medical Volunteers
Anesthesiologist: 5
Biomedical Technician: 1
Child Life Specialist: 1
Operating Room Nurse: 4
Orthodontist/Dentist: 2
Patient Imaging Technician: 2
Pediatric Anesthesiologist: 1 Pediatric Intensivist: 1
Pediatrician: 2
Plastic Surgeon: 6
Pre/Post Op Night Nurse: 2
Pre/Post Op Nurse: 5
Recovery Room Nurse: 3
Speech Pathologist: 1

Non-Medical Volunteers:
Medical Records: 3
Photographer: 1
Student Club: 4

Operation Smile Staff
Programme Coordinator: 1
Programme Manager: 1
Development Manager: 1

From 26th July to 3rd August 2012 team Ghana successfully screened 321 patients. Patients came from all over Ghana and cover all ages, from 6 months to 55 years old. Due to 12 no show patients, however, Operation Smile was able to provide surgery to 110 of them instead of the 122 initially planned. Operation Smile also provided follow up care for 108 of 110 patients. The one week Post-Operation was held on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th of August at Ridge Hospital. Operation Smile will also return in February 2013 for the six month assessment to determine what follow up care is needed.

As this was Operation Smile's first medical mission in Ghana in which patients received surgery in over 20 years, volunteers and coordinators put a conscious effort into working with local staff from the hospital as well as Plastic Surgery Registrars from the neighboring Military Hospital. Operation Smile identified several potential volunteers for Operation Smile in Plastic Surgery and Nursing, and they will probably receive training soon.
Operation Smile's senior education coordinator for Africa facilitated a BLS (Basic Life Support) training in Accra the week before the mission to 68 Ghanean providers. Two volunteers received free medical training before the mission by Operation Smile in conjunction with American Heart Association (AHA). They were certified Basic Life Support Providers. This enabled Operation Smile to use two more local volunteers for the mission.
Operation Smile was able to collaborate with upwards of 30 NGOs partners across Ghana and their networks were used to recruit patients on a community level.

Media was definitely the key to recruitment. In the week and a half leading up the program, Operation Smile's mission coordinator appeared on a large number of Radio/TV programs as well as Lions Club members in order to increase exposure as much as possible. She also engaged Ghana Health Services to send out press releases and Operation Smile asked all partners to try to engage local radio stations.

Total screened: 321
Priority 1's: 84
Priority 2's: 28
Priority 3's: 16
Priority 4's: 24
Priority 5's: 77
Not Candidates: 92

Priority 1
Primary Repair of Cleft Lip - Ages 6 months and older
Priority 2
Primary Repair of Cleft Palate - Ages 1 - 6 years
Priority 3
Primary Repair of Cleft Palates - Age 6 to Adult
Priority 4
Secondary Repairs of Lips and Palates - All ages
Priority 5
Other Conditions - All ages
Non candidate
The non candidate patients are not eligible for surgery for several reasons, eg. : not a cleft patient, too young to receive surgery, malnourished, sick during the mission week, etc.

In addition, however, non candidates include patients whose condition does not fall within any of the above categories and is not a candidate for the current mission, any future mission, nor Operation Smile's world care program.

Fondazione Operation Smile Italia Onlus
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