Dr Randrianirina Andrimpitria (Dr Andry for short) is the lone orthopaedic surgeon in Tamatave, Madagascar! The city has a population of around a quarter of a million and it is the capital of a province with over one million inhabitants. The whole country only has 8 orthopaedic surgeons for 22 million people.
Faced with such an enormous task it would be easy to give up, but instead for 6 weeks Dr Andry has been working an extra 2 or 3 days a week on board the hospital ship Africa Mercy, learning the very latest techniques from some of the world’s best professionals.
One of the visiting surgeons who participated in the one-to-one mentoring program is Dr Frank Haydon who says; “Dr Andry is very skilful … great technique surgically … he has good hands. Even while participating in the training he had to take urgent calls from the community and had a ward full of patients in his own hospital that he had to see twice a day.”
Apart from everything else he has to do Dr Andry teaches orthopaedics and anatomy at the local medical school in Tamatave. Now he can teach the new techniques he has learnt to the up and coming students and hopefully can help train other orthopaedic surgeons to help him with his monumental workload.
“The difference between the training I got in other places and here is about the practice”, says Dr Andry, “Before, the training was theoretical. The practicing time was short. But here the most important is practicing. Just the other day, in the operating room, I learned something new and easy to use, that doesn’t require special tools that we don’t have. It’s easy and useful. It’s a knowledge that we can use directly, and that makes this training really different. “
We are so glad to be able to help dedicated surgeons like Dr. Andry, who struggle under almost unbearable pressure to help patients suffering from all kinds of orthopaedic conditions in his native Madagascar.