The highlight of the last few months at the Christ Church Clinics has definitely been the Cairo Medical Conference, so ably and well organised by Dr Edwin Martin and supported by Dr Ehab of HOME, Dr Mike Davies and Dr Jon Day of PRIME and others, around the theme of ‘The Long Term Care of Chronic Disease’. This is a large and increasing part of the whole of medical care in the Middle East where good record keeping is fundamentally important. Clinics specifically related to eye care were included in the programme, as this is the main work of the Ras Morbat clinics currently. Lively and interactive teaching was delivered by surgeons and specialists from the UK and Egypt – including Dr Adel a senior consultant from the National Eye institute of Egypt who has operated and taught at the Christ Church Clinic on several occasions.
Attending the conference were not just the doctors from Ras Morbat, but a nurse, two technicians and a pharmacist – the whole team. A number from another medical facility in Aden also attended, and the conference has served to strengthen professional links between those working in the same city. Around 30 Egyptian doctors also attended the conference. Firm friendships and professional links have been made between Yemeni and Egyptian colleagues. The team came back buzzing from the conference and ‘over the moon’, in the words of Peter Crooks, to be able to access postgraduate education. The staff are keen to access further training in the future. As links between Egyptian medical professionals, such as Dr Adel grow, this is becoming a more concrete hope for the future.
Beside teaching sessions, delegates observed a live operation training session in a local hospital, a refugee clinic, a hospital with a new surgical training programme and of course … the pyramids! For many of the staff this was their first visit outside of Yemen and they made the most of it.
The staff commented in feedback that the conference was interesting, useful, motivating, relevant, refreshing, excellent… We are grateful to Dr Edwin for all his hard work in making the conference happen, and to those who generously hosted and funded it.
The conference has again highlighted the need and hunger for postgraduate training and supervision at the clinics. We long for Christian medical professionals to come and work alongside the Yemeni staff who work faithfully to keep the clinics running.
Since the last update a new opthalmic microscope has arrived and is being put to good use. The eye clinic continues to be busy, and with cateract removal operations being performed by the wonderful Doctors Randa and Tahani. Dr John Sandford Smith hopes to visit again later this year to operate further, and the Cairo conference has whetted the appetite of the staff for further training.
Dr Osmany (pictured above with his wife), an eye surgeon from Cuba who works elsewhere in Aden also provides key support to the Ras Morbat staff on a regular basis with the most complex cases.
The situation in Yemen as a whole remains precarious. Recent fuel hikes have led to protests, especially in the capital. Al Qaeda seem intent on targeting the military. Aden remains relatively calm and we are grateful that daily life continues much as it has been for the staff and community around Christ Church.
The other exciting news from Christ Church is the recent appointment of the Revd T Velvet John as the Chaplain of Christ Church Aden and Director of the Ras Morbat Clinic.
Velvet, originating from the Diocese of South Kerala in the Church of South India, is currently Dean of Certificate, Graduate, and Postgraduate Studies for TAFTEE (The Association for Theological Education by Extension) and also Associate Pastor of St James, Bangalore, and an executive member of the Bangalore Medical Ethics Committee. He is married to the Revd J Vijaya John and they have two adult children.
We, alongside the staff at the clinics and the small, but faithful congregation look forward to his arrival in Yemen in November, prior to a licensing by Bishop Michael in December.