Dr. Kamal Gandhi participated in a trip to Ethiopia in May 2014 with the group Ethiopia Health Aid
On May 15 – 30, 2014, a medical team from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital provided life-saving surgeries and care to more than 1,500 patients in
They were part of a 22-member medical mission team led by Trauma Surgeon Dr. Gudata Hinika and his foundation, Ethiopia Health Aid (EHA). “Ethiopia is the second poorest nation in the world, according to Oxford University’s 2014 study,” said Dr. Hinika. “And rural Ethiopia is home to the poorest of the poor.”
Dr. Hinika’s foundation, Ethiopia Health Aid deploys medical mission teams twice a year, serving in Adama Hospital, a tertiary care city hospital as well as in the remote village of Gode. “The village we visited was medically underserved with limited facilities and no running water,” said ER Nurse Emma Barker, a seasoned EHA volunteer. “Most of our patients had never seen a doctor in their lives.”
In addition to Dr. Hinika, Henry Mayo physicians Chand Khanna, Kamal Gandhi, Felix and Ophelia Barte were among the specialists who performed 90 surgeries and provided care to 352 patients in the city, in addition to caring for 1,500 patients in the village.
Having served medical missions prior, these doctors made a concerted effort to approach their colleagues and networks to secure much-needed antibiotics and other medications. “The success of this mission was heavily dependent on providing medical expertise and securing medications that would help patients get better,” said pulmonologist Chand Khanna, MD. “With our colleagues at Henry Mayo and other agencies, we are making a difference in our patients’ lives.” Patient-centered care was a priority for this team. “Everyone had an opportunity to learn, teach and heal,” said cardiologist Felix Barte, MD. “We learned as much as we could about our patients and how our local colleagues worked, and we exchanged knowledge and techniques so we could get the best outcomes for our patients.” Psychiatrist Ophelia Barte, MD, Mrs. Renu Khanna and Mrs. Shama Gandhi headed the team’s pharmacy unit. “We were extremely busy filling more than 1,400 prescriptions,” said Dr. Ophelia Barte. “But we also made time to teach the local kids some tennis.” Nephrologist Kamal Gandhi, MD took great lengths to see and treat as many patients as possible — often delaying his own breaks to make sure every patient was cared for. “It’s the least I could do,” said Dr. Gandhi. “Many waited years to see a doctor, surely skipping lunch can’t compare to that.”
In addition to medical care, the team hosted lectures with students at Adama medical school, distributed 300 soccer balls to students at the village highschool and stocked the library with 700 reference books. “A giving spirit can change the world,” said Dr. Hinika. “I am humbled by the care my friends and colleagues have so selflessly shared with strangers.”