Medinova goes Africa

Dr. Anita Gharibian (fifth from the left) with colleagues surrounded by children from the village

People from all over the country have been gathering for days in Puma, a small village in the centre of Tanzania. Some of them have walked for days to arrive from very remote regions. Others send their children, since they are not able to set forth themselves.

This is how Dr Anita Gharibian describes the situation which she finds every year during her visits to the little African province. “Word gets around quickly when white doctors are on site”, she said during her visit to Medinova AG in January 2020. For 13 years the experienced gynaecologist has been coming to Africa with a German-Swiss team from the foundation “Interplast Germany e.V.” to help the missionary hospitals in Puma, Dareda and Gehandu. The arrival often constitutes an initial adventure, because most dirt roads can only be driven very slowly even during the dry season. In the rainy season these roads turn into huge puddles and streams which appear to be hardly passable.

But if one believes the medical specialist, who is active in her own gynaecological practice in canton Obwalden in Switzerland during the rest of the year, at this point in the trip they have at least overcome the first obstacle. “Unfortunately, today the customs authorities are still very distrustful, and we must spread out the medicines and instruments brought along to be able to enter without problems.”

A dedicated and committed team of doctors

Doctors performing surgeries even during power outages making their work even more challenging

Therefore, the joy is not only coming from the patients when the team – which normally consists of 4-10 doctors and nurses from various specializations – arrives in the missionary hospitals. For a little more than 2 weeks the doctors will take care of their patients, attend the religious service of the local faith mission in the churches, and pass on their expertise to local doctors and nurses. “The on-site training of specialists is an important part of the work, so that the supply of health services is also guaranteed during the rest of the year”, says Dr Gharibian. During the 2 weeks that the medical team is on site, approx. 120-130 patients visit the gynaecological outpatient clinic. About 20% of the women coming, require surgery; another 20% arrive at the clinic with genital infections. Communication takes place with the help of translators.

In order to be able to suitably treat these patients, Dr Gharibian and her colleagues are dependent on external help. Old, discarded instruments, examination tables and technical equipment from German and Swiss clinics and operating rooms are found in the premises of the outpatient clinic. Among other things, medication used in the gynaecology field are provided free of charge by Medinova AG. “Our opportunities for comprehensive treatment improve from year to year, and we are thankful for every donation”, says Dr Gharibian happily. The appreciation of local residents for the medical care is often expressed in gifts and praise to the doctors. It is the highest honour to receive a chicken as a gift – an honour which Dr Gharibian has already received twice. And when the team is heading home on the bumpy roads after their mission, the gynaecologist already looks forward to the next visit in the African province.

In January, Dr Anita Gharibian, Specialist in Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the women’s practice in Obwalden, introduced her work with the foundation “Interplast Germany e.V.” to Medinova AG in Zürich. Interplast Germany e.V. is a foundation with voluntary employees. Only one administrative person is 50% financed; 97% of all donations end up directly with the concerned missionary hospitals.

Information: Donation account: IBAN: DE52 5502 0500 0008 6660 00, Institute: Bank für Sozialwirtschaft