TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE JOURNEY OF OUR VOLUNTEER DOCTOR IN AFRICA
January 7, 2021
Ride with her as she takes you along on her journey.
“My full name is Aydin-Gundogmus Aysana. I am an ophthalmologist from Kazakhstan, the state in Central Asia. I worked as an ophthalmologist at the central clinical hospital in Almaty. I had a wonderful opportunity to undertake an internship thanks to my professor Bagdat Omarovna Suleyeva. I express my deep gratitude for all the hard work and experiences, help and support.
On April 05, 2018, I had the opportunity to undertake an internship in Mali, West Africa, Bamako. What was the idea before my trip to Africa? Of course, I imagined this country as poor, wild, and with a low level of medicine. The country was really poor. Although more modern buildings can be found in the center, these are mainly banks and hotels. I stepped off the plane and my feet touched Bamako’s ground. At that moment I thought that I was very young and inexperienced, and I wanted to fly back home. However, there was professional loyalty and I really wanted to help people. They needed me, I know.
On the first day, I had a tour of the clinic; it was very different from our clinics in Kazakhstan. Working day from 07:45am to 06:00pm. Depending on the number of patients, it takes 7-8 hours for examination, appointment and surgery. A huge number of patients were waiting for an appointment in the morning at 04:00am, and some slept on the floor of the clinic. The clinic had to operate on average 25-30 operations per day. There are many children with cataracts oculus uterque with overall affection and blindness. Social factors such as poverty, poor housing conditions, poor sanitation, poor nutritional status and difficulties in obtaining qualified medical care contribute to the course of many diseases. It was very difficult for me in Africa, most of the cases our doctors never dreamed of. Despite the difficulties, I felt really needed. The most that worried me was the treatment standards of local doctors. Gentamicin and dexamethasone have been prescribed for children and adults left and right. It is necessary to improve the range of antibiotics, to reduce such dangerous antibiotics. There is no sewage system or water supply throughout the country, hence the constant breakout of infectious diseases. The absence of a specialized ophthalmological service or its insufficient number, as well as the late refer of people to a doctor, also determine the frequency of severe, often incurable pathology of the organ of vision, leading to blindness. I hope there will be funds that help children!
From 2018 to 2020, I have operated on 4,752 patients, of whom 3,616 for cataracts, 851 – glaucoma, 285 – trauma, etc.
Deep gratitude to the manager of the clinic, Kemal Gunes, for his patience and support, but this was not a hindrance, he explained all the points to me, and sometimes several times. Thank you for the opportunity to visit and participate in the work of Africa. Being in Almaty, I miss Africa, the medical staff. If someday there is an offer to help those in need, then I am ready to agree again.”