Elpis in Madagascar: the first missions

// Monday September 16th, 2019 // Category: report

The first missions of the volunteers of our Association on the ship Elpis, which is now anchored at anchor in Ankify, in the North West of Madagascar, have recently concluded.

From the beginning of June until a few days ago, Arch. Natale Vulpetti, with coordination functions and with the purpose of planning contacts with local patterns, preparing the logistics for the completion of health missions, contacting and eventually recruiting local labor. Together with him the trusted and tenacious John Dadzie who has never left Elpis since January 2018, showing great devotion and a sense of responsibility.

The first health mission was carried out from 8 to 23 July by the cardiologist Dr. Rosalba Sciacca, who committed herself to assisting the local population both at Ankify and at the San Damien hospital in Ambanja, a facility with which it was planned a cooperation that will last for the coming months. In fact, the bases have been laid, already started by the Bishop of Ambanja Monsignor Rosario Vella, for a collaborative relationship with Dr. Baptistine and with Dr. Jeromine, as well as with the Director Father R. J.P. Elisée.

The second mission, with a technical logistics footprint and the goal of starting the most urgent ship maintenance jobs, unfortunately unavoidably neglected during the transfer journey, was led by Dr. Paolo Rossi and took place on board during the month of August. Thanks to the considerable contribution in technical materials and supply made available by the Motomarine Company of Trieste and to the collaboration of the mechanic Bruno Stanissa, also hiring local workers, it was possible to rebuild the stern platform, completely destroyed by a storm in Gambia, it was revised and repainted the entire deck, the quarterdeck and parts of the sides. In addition, various components of the ship’s armament were repaired and the first contacts were made with the nearby shipyards where it was possible to carry out the careening, which by now could not be settled.

A third mission is scheduled for the end of September (25 September – 10/16 October), with a mainly health-care objective of performing surgical and urological activities at the San Damien Hospital in Ambanja and probably at the Santa Maria delle Ospedale Thanks of Nosy Be. At the same time maintenance work on the ship will be continued, with particular attention to machines and engines. This mission involves the participation of a surgeon (G. Ungaro), an internist (R. Caizza), a urologist (V. Militi), an anesthesiologist (G.Vaccaro), a chief engineer (S. Federico) and a technician electromechanical (V. Giacalone). The mission will also aim to verify the feasibility of health missions in some nearby islands that have already requested it and where, as emerged from preliminary contacts with local authorities and missionaries, there is no health facility and the inhabitants are forced to move by sea on land, something that most of the times cannot be done due to the considerable unsustainable costs.

The program of missions also includes a further surgical team led by Dr. F. Cannizzaro and an orthopedic-rehabilitation group led by Dr. C. Triscari.

This brief statement wants to be an incentive for doctors, healthcare professionals and technicians to evaluate the possibility of participating in these initiatives in favor of populations that are really in need of health care, just as our association has been doing for many years.

September 2019

Giancarlo Ungaro

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