Saturday, 24 October 2020

Rotary Club of Henley Bridge

Rotary Club of Henley Bridge

DR Stewart Kilpatrick, an anaesthetist who retired from Frimley Park Hospital eight years ago, talked to the club last week about the Mercy Ships charity and its medical and dental provision in sub-Saharan Africa.

Two-thirds of the world’s population cannot get access to safe, affordable surgical care when they need it — Mercy Ships was formed to help serve some of these people.

Dr Kilpatrick has volunteered on the Africa Mercy ship several times, both before and after retirement.

He showed Rotarians a series of pictures depicting conditions inside the ship and some of the successful outcomes from surgery.

The Africa Mercy, a converted Danish train ferry, hosts a large number of medically trained volunteers, half of whom are full-time and the other half on board for short tours.

The ship serves some of the poorest countries in sub -Saharan Africa where there are often only seven doctors for every 100,000 people — the UK has 282.

It tends to dock in one country each year and carries out more than 2.000 free operations. There are five theatres and 80 beds on board, though convalescence usually takes place on shore.

Dr Kilpatrick showed pictures of patients successfully helped by surgery to cure hernias, thyroid disease, cleft palate deformities, noma, club foot, tumours, fistula and many other conditions.

Surgery on cataracts, sometimes in both eyes, can result in lives being transformed by a short operation done under local anaesthetic.

The club meets at Badgemore Park Golf Club on Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings (second and fourth of each month).

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