Orthopaedic Mission Hospital of Petté, Cameroon
“A miracle took place: nine young patients were operated on by the competent orthopaedic team of the Canton of Valais (Dr. Nicolas Rians, Dr. Christophe Sadowski, Dr. Gregory Zen Ruffinen and Arnaud Lemercier accompanied by Dr. Jacques Richon and Claudia Zen Ruffinen). A number of hip prostheses, donated by Medacta Int, were fitted by this voluntary team in the Petté hospital. An act of generosity and a wonderful success. The day after the operations, the patients were walking with crutches! So far no problems have been encountered. This operation, also supported by the State of Valais summarised the spirit well: the strong commitment of a team and constant professional diligence for a particularly disadvantaged population
In November 2012, Jacques Richon, Gregorie Zen Ruffinen and I spent a week at Petté hospital. We were interested in working with a hospital in Africa and as such we made contact with Anne-Marie Schönenberger. The purpose of our first visit was to understand whether such collaboration was possible, to understand the existing infrastructure of the hospital, and above all to prepare ourselves for any orthopaedic surgery in an environment that was not particularly favourable for such surgery.
During this first visit, we decided to explore. I know that there are not many orthopaedic surgeons who are experienced in prosthetic surgery in a hospital such as Petté. As infection is the greatest fear of orthopaedists, we trained the medical staff of Petté on this problem. Anne Marie and the Switzerland Social Donation, which manages the hospital, understood the challenge of such a project. In a short space of time, a new orthopaedic operating theatre had been built!
Orthopaedic surgery requires the use of voluminous and expensive equipment. In my opinion without the help of industry, such a project cannot develop. This project at Petté hospital was possible thanks to the generous support of the Siccardi family of Medacta. They provided the ancillary staff as well as the implants free of charge.
During this mission, we were able to implant nine hip prostheses. Thanks to the support of the Medacta Group, we did not experience any difficulty with the implants which we had in fairly large quantities. The material brought from Switzerland enabled us to work in comparably good conditions. Thanks to an expert surgical team, including two surgeons and an assistant, an anaesthetist and a male nurse, an assistant and a scrub nurse, we were able to implant a number of prostheses in less than 1h30. The rapidity of such a surgical act is very important in terms of reducing the risk of infection.
Three weeks after the operations for hip prosthesis, on nine patients, there were no complications. Four weeks after the operations, all patients had left the hospital. A follow-up appointment at three months is planned and has been accepted by all the patients. If the evolution of these first nine prostheses is favourable, then the possibility of repeating such a mission can be considered.
Their complete support enabled us to implant these first nine prostheses in excellent conditions.”
Dr. Nicolas Riand