Testimony Dr. Fernando Almeida
Testimony Dr. Fernando Almeida
18 years ago, an Austrian Traumatologist discovered Cape Verde, landed it in the island of Santiago, in fact it was not a discovery, since in 1460 the Portugueese navigators Diogo Gomes and Antônio de Nola hoisted the flag of Portugal in the Bay of Santa Maria.
The merit of the Austrian´s citizen visited Cape Verde was due to the sublime voice of Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora at one of the concerts held in Vienna-Austria.
After knowing our sad but challenging hospital reality, our Austrian partners outlined the support organization - COSMAS, aiming not just to respond in the short term, but also to plan the future.
In the short term, work mission were carried out towards Austria - Cape Verde with the aim of reducing the evacuations of Cape Verdean patients to do treatments abroad.
It should be noted, however, that the Ortho-Traumatology Department of the Dr. Agostinho Neto hospital occupied the first places in the evacuations of patients to Portugal. Converting these evacuations to economic and financial area means that it had a significant weight in the overall budget of the Ministery of Health. On the other hand, the social aspect of evacuation has never been and is not accounted. Patients are forced to leave the country and the family, falling into a totally different socio-cultural reality, and many have difficulty communicating because they do not speak the Portugueese language.
Improve the quality of surgical treatment in the country, and for this realization three points were identified:
- Theoretical update of our scientific knowledge.
- Acquisition of modern osteosynthesis materials.
- Carrying out trauma surgeries in the country, forming a teams doctors Cape Verdean and Austrian.
- Visit´s study and short-term work of doctors and nurses at Wihelminspital
Thus, we received several donations of the cosmas in materials that exceed 1 million euros, financial subsidy for the realization of our travels and stay in Austria and as Portugal.
Over the period, two specialists were trained in Austria, with a six-year training program supported (funded) by Cape Verde's Health Ministry with a scholarship and by Cosmas. It should be noted that the training model was not continuous, ie the training specialist spent six months in Austria and six months in Cape Verde. This model has provided our hospital with some added value, it means we have gained one more doctor in our service, and we are not many. The medical specialist always shared with us the updated concepts in the treatment of trauma patients since we are not always able to participate in scientific events outside the country. In this way we achieved all the objectives initially set.
At present we are 11 specialists, 8 Cape Verdeans and 3 cooperants, two of them Cuban and one Chinese.
The evacuated patients panorama radically changed from evacuating cases of traumatology except vertebro-medullary trauma, total arthroplasties of the hip and knee.
New times, new challenges
Our department currently has the following challenges:
- Consolidation of the gains obtained, and built up a subspecialities teams( for example Hand surgery,Childrens surgery, etc
- Provide our service with technical capacity to perform arthrosplasty of the hip and knee
- Performing traumatic surgery of the spine.
- To have total autonomy in performing arthroscopic surgeries in Cape Verde.
To summarize, at moment we evacuate patients to Portugal for traumatic spinal surgery and arthrosplasty.
Regarding arthroscopies, we have received two arthroscopic columns from COSMAS lately, and we have acquired disposable materials through our own means to perform approximately 100 surgeries. However we need a basic kit of arthroscopic forceps, and specialist support for some time to train ours doctors.
A look back in time
We can only have the sensation of the distance traveled when we reached the goal. Looking our developmental path, which at first we felt satisfied with basic DHS surgery, nailing including humerus, for the moment we use the locked plates as one of the surgical alternative. We are so proud of this fruitful partner that has led us, nowadays, in an autonomous way to the most complex surgical of the pelvis, bone transportation, and Pipking fracture, etc.
On behalf of hospital and the colectiv of Trauma´s department i would like to express my gratitude for this humanitarian work.
Praia, 23 January 2019
Dr. Fernando Almeida