Volunteering is a two-way journey; creating sustainable change both at home and away. Dr Mira Pecheva’s trip to Myanmar with a team of orthopaedic surgeons in May earlier this year highlighted this exchange of knowledge and learning. Trauma is and continues to be a leading killer in Myanmar. Whilst the hospital has increased its capacity for dealing with such cases, it still requires the clinical skills and expertise of volunteers such as Mira. Whilst at Yangon General Hospital, Mira identified the progress made and the important role that CGHP volunteers continue to play in this transfer of such vital knowledge and skills.
“Volunteering for the orthopaedic project in partnership with the University of Medicine 1 in Yangon was a great experience – to be able to build on the work Mr Norrish and the Addenbrooke’s teams did in the last few years and to see the surgeons there implementing the knowledge techniques, such as the use of external fixators. This trip was particularly useful as we were able to see the clinical challenges the surgeons face there – high energy trauma, young patients with significant injuries and industrial injuries. The most recent course we delivered focused on more advanced orthopaedic topics and limb reconstruction with frames, subjects which were highly relevant to the care of the patients there.
This was a very valuable experience to see such a wide range of clinical cases, be involved in the discussions with the surgeons about the management and to develop my own teaching skills. It also allowed our own team of registrars and consultants to develop our clinical, technical and non-medical skills – for example, as we encountered complex trauma or had to source equipment for the workshops at the local market in Yangon.
It was a great pleasure to work with the surgeons in Yangon, we are all looking forward to returning and building on the previous work!” Mira’s experience reflects the voices of many volunteers, whose work has a monumental impact both at home and away. Alongside an orthopaedic team, she is set to return to Myanmar later this year, and we look forward to sharing her experiences later in the year.