Lomé, Togo (Afrika) 20.04.2018
We take off Düsseldorf airport right now and are heading towards Paris. Best thing – it feels just awesome! Breaking out of our daily routine, I am excited to leave my comfort zone. New unpredictable tasks are waiting for us in a foreign country we‘ve never been to. We are constantly receiving photos of local surgical cases we will have to find a solution for during the oncoming week. I am thrilled to unite my complication approved team from our last trips to Peru, Nepal & Madagascar at ‚charle de gaulle‘ airport this afternoon. Besides our established medical staff PD Dr. Armin Kraus/plastic surgeon, Dr. Lisa Gambhir/General medicine, we are happy to inaugurate Maria von Kohout/cand. med. to our plastic surgery project. For the first time we are in favor of a camera team which will show up shortly with stunning video impressions from this trip.
Lomé, Togo (Afrika) 22.04.2018
The night we arrived in Lomé we right away hit ‚Clinique Autel D’eli’ to schedule our patients for the next morning. We checked in a very basic infrastructure with sufficient hygienic ORs just totally lacking of sterile equipement. Used to such circumstances from our previous trips to the third world we brought every sterile device we would eventually need on our own. We saw many breast cancer patients after unilateral breast amputation which apparently never had the chance for a reconstruction. It was now our turn to indicate breast reconstruction and offer these patients a start into a new life. During the following days we did two TRAM-flaps and one Latissimus-flap including breast implantat reconstruction surgery. We mostly did contralateral vertical and ‚inverted T’-mastopexies and reconstructed various ventral abdominal walls with prolene meshes or deepithelized dermis transplants. The second strongest entity we saw were soft tissue tumors of the head & neck region – some impressive ulcerated carcinomas of the midface which had not been treated for years. Despite we could not start surgery before 12-13h each day the local anesthetist and his team were easily willing to do surgery with us until 23h in the evening. We quickly accommodated to the african rhythm and were fully satisfied with our work.
Lomé, Togo (Afrika) 24.04.2018
This morning we got on a shuttle-bus to a govermental hospital in the periphery of the country. After three 10h-surgery days at the ‚Clinique Autel D‘Elie‘ in Lomé/Togo we are heading for the countryside outside Lomé. We are tired but highly motivated. Our target is Atakpame north of Lomé. We have no clue what to expect, no webpages or other media of this govermental hospital available. We are travelling in tropic climate and continue drinking whatever fluids to keep our bodies hydrated. Soon we leave civilized high ways behind us and hit off road terrain of orange soil. The expected travel time of 4h is unfortunarely extended significantly so that one team member reaches orthostatic instability. Exhausted we reach the govermental hospital after 7h and agree on seeing at least the first surgery case for the next morning. As a result of poor organisation of the govermental institutions it is not possible to accommodate the team on the campus. We are immediately forced to find an accommodation in order to rehydrate, regenerate and regain forces until the next morning. It costs us another ride of 1h until we reach a safe accommodation in a village „near by“. We finally check in at dusk. An old broke farm house surrounded by a concrete wall of 2,5m and a metal gate protects us from the local population. Colored children climb in the trees outside the property to whiteness us white people – they might have never seen before in their lives. Close to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere we send our driver to prepare our shuttle-bus for the next morning. The night breaks in.
Lomé, Togo (Afrika) 25.04.2018
We hit the road early in the morning. We pass by an elementary school and can’t hold back to introduce us as we discover that these people promoted our ‚Beta Humanitarian Help‘ mission in their county. Impressing moments. Many of these children probably have never seen or touched a white person before – & this is what they ask permission for!
Lomé, Togo (Afrika) 27.04.2018
After a 4h road trip from d’Elavagnon (Est Mono) in the midlands of Togo close to the east boarder to Benin we arrived back in Lomé. The next day we checked on our TRAM-Flap and Latissimus dorsi-Flap patients at ‚Clinique Autel D’eli’ and were confirmed by happy patients. We organized the postoperative care with the staff and equiped each patient with the indicated medication for their healing periode. In the evening our Air France flights were unfortunately cancelled. We had a journey of 20h instead of 7h but finially had a save trip back home. Checking on each other via phone call on sunday we had to resume that three of us catched a gastroenteritis and were knocked out for work – at least for the first day. I assume: we will recover and soon be back on our next plastic surgery trip to the third world.