Samstag, 28. Januar 2012

Austrian Medical Team in Sabratah Hospital

On a beautiful Friday, the new Austrian Ambassador and me were invited to visit Sabratah and have a tour through the municipal hospital. Well, there are not so many other exciting options these days, and in addition one does not find every day a group of Austrian medical doctors in action in Libya.

The initiative came from the Society for Austro Arab Relations (Gesellschaft für Österreichisch-Arabische Beziehungen )  and its Secretary General, Fritz Edlinger. Together with their Libyan Partner, Wafa Relief and Development, they brought up the idea of visiting Libya with a grou of Austrian doctors in order to carry out some medical work (mainly operations). The medical doctors are from different fields  (Plastic surgeons, sureons, gynecologist,...) and all used their holidays to perform operations free of charge for those in urgent need in Libya.

The hospital itself is a huge building from the 1970s and obviously in need of some refurbishment. However, the doctors said, they have seen worse, like in Yemen for instance. The biggest problem in Sabratah seems to be the lack of proper equipment and, in some departments, a catastrophic hygienical situation which makes some operations impossible. The operation might be a success, but the patient would die thereafter due to the infections by different bacterias.

Well, to say the least, the pre- and post-operation rooms (see pictures) do leed me to the deep hope that i do not need to undergo an emergency operation there.

Two female doctors (plastic surgeons) from the famous Viennese hospital "Rudolfsstifutng", Prof. Deutinger and Dr.Gösseringer, together with Dr.Schwarzinger (anethesist) were intensively at work, operating a three year old child. The surgery was succesful and the happy father could hold his kid in his arms only shortly thereafter.

Even the TV came, "Libya TV" made an interview with the two succesful doctors. The Ambassador also pointed out, that this should be a good example and encourage libyan women to engage in higher qualified jobs.
Libyan doctors in Sabratah were very thankful for the support. In addition to receiving immediate support for some complicated cases, they also learn from their Austrian colleagues some new techniques. The the Austrian doctors it is also interesting and enriching to see how their Libyan counterparts handle complicated cases.
The whole mission was a success, during 5 days many operations could be performed. also such patients were identified that could not receive proper treatment in Libya and need to be brought somewhere else.
Fritz Edlinger of the SAAR said, that this was the first mission of its kind. But after having put feets on the ground, the current fact finding mission will be followed by a much larger group of Austrian medical doctors.

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