Blog by ISUOG Ambassador and Trainer Reem S. Abu-Rustum
Humbling. Elating. Empowering. That is how I would describe my first Outreach mission with ISUOG to Sudan.
Gesu Antonio Baez introducing ISUOG Outreach
From the moment our team of trainers met, it was obvious how compatible we all were with our different ethnic backgrounds and personal experiences. Under the watchful eye of ISUOG’s phenomenal Gesu Antonio Baez, and the leadership of insightful Dr. Mirghani, we knew that this was destined to be a most impactful mission for all involved.
On the Lakeshore of Rahad
Humbling it was to be received by the warmest most genuine people of Sudan who welcomed us like royalty, and escorted us with pride all over Al Obeid and North Kordofan State. Despite the logistical challenges, they made sure we had the most comfortable accommodations and an organized clinic set up with all the necessities in place, not to mention the unforgettable “Jebana” coffee. The Minister of Health, his Excellency Dr. Abdullah Faki Omer, never left our team: from receiving us at the airport to escorting us as we departed. Dr. Khidir was the driving force behind our entire mission on the Obeid front: the true embodiment of commitment and dedication.
Elating it was to have the privilege to participate in the sonographic education of 30 most dedicated Ob/Gyn and Radiology Physicians who had come from all over North Kordofan State to attend our 5 intense days. We had their undivided attention whether it was during the didactic or the hands-on sessions. They had such a hunger and eagerness to learn, and were so receptive to any instruction or criticism to help them improve their sonographic skills. The trainees were divided into 4 groups and rotated on a daily basis with the trainers. On the last day, each team of trainees ended up with their trainer from the first day. I had the “Red Team” and it was amazing to have them back with me on the last day: the progress they had made was unbelievable. They were secure and confident in utilizing the systematic 6 Steps Approach, were able to recognize key anatomical landmarks and were able to manipulate the probe to arrive at the required biometric planes.
Dr. Samira Demonstrating 6 Steps and the Red Team
Empowering it was to be able to play a role, albeit indirect and quite small, in the future of the mothers of Sudan. Visiting the labor ward at the Al Obeid new Maternity Hospital, a referral center for the area, offered us a glimpse of the challenging conditions faced by both physicians and patients. Though all the basic necessities are met, the patients have to secure and purchase key “material” for labor, and they are usually discharged 2 hours postpartum to make room for the other 15-20 daily parturients, not counting the cesarean deliveries. Nonetheless, there is an unshakable commitment from the Sudanese Government led by the Ministry of Health, and an army of health care providers dedicated to improving the maternal and neonatal mortality rates and their co-morbidities. It was most empowering for me, as a member of the ISUOG Outreach Team, to be a part of Sudan’s vision for a future where every woman has access to a properly performed sonographic examination in order to identify and safeguard against the major contributors to maternal morbidity and mortality.
Our Entire Team
Humbled. Elated. Empowered. That is how I feel. That is what Sudan and its beautiful people have left me with. I feel honored and privileged and I eagerly look forward to our next mission amongst the most gracious Sudanese…