Archive for News

Albania Opens First Microsurgery Training Laboratory

Microscope Laboratory Entrance
Mr Jack McCann and Prof. Mentor Petrela together with Albanian and Kosovar trainees outside the new Microsurgery Laboratory

Microsurgery Training Laboratory Established in Mother Theresa University Hospital

Microsurgery is surgery requiring an operating microscope. It enables anastomosis (reconnection) of small blood vessels and nerves and this allows transfer of tissue from one part of the body to another and re-attachment of severed parts. This is essential for treatment of damaged skin due to tumours or traumas.
Microsurgical techniques are utilized by general surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, gynaecological surgery, otolaryngology, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, and paediatric surgery.

Mother Theresa University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tirana sought our support to establish a Microsurgery Training Laboratory within MTUH. This initiative fitted perfectly with our mission to assist long term and lasting improvements in Albanian and Kosovar surgical services.

With the generous support of the public and all our fundraisers and of Irish Aid we were delighted to be able to help achieve the vision for a top-class facility which can train surgeons locally.

MTUH has one operating microscope which is several decades old but still functional. However two more microscopes were needed to enable group training. These microscopes come fitted with monitors which enable tutors and other students to observe the surgeons working.

Our chairman Mr Jack McCann assisted with the sourcing of the microscopes. We are grateful to Laboratory Instruments & Supplies of Ashbourne for supplying the equipment and to Priority Freight of Dover for looking after the transportation of this delicate cargo. Both companies supported the work with large discounts.

In July Mr Jack McCann travelled to Tirana and helped the local team to set up the laboratory in a dedicated room with the Dept of Neurosurgery in MTUH. Jack and local tutor Dr Ridvan he delivered the first week of training to 9 Albanian surgeons and 3 Kosovar surgeons from Prishtina University Hospital.

The welcome for the new facility was fantastic and this is an auspicious beginning for a surgical specialty that will benefit the populations of Albania and many Balkan countries for decades to come.

Friends of Albania Microscopes1
Mr Jack McCann and Microsurgery tutor Dr. Ridvan Alimehmeti oversee Albanian and Kosovar trainees in new Microsurgery Laboratory

Solar power assists the Elderly of Albania

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Solar power assists the Elderly of Albania

In May our construction team from Kerry and Kilkenny successfully completed its fifth volunteer visit to Albania.
The team installed a solar panel water heating system for the 52 residents of the state owned Home for the Elderly in Kavaja, Central Albania.
The installation of a solar water heating system assures free hot water to the Home for as long as the sun shines, which is over 300 days a year. This will reduce their electricity bills dramatically. Therefore the system more than pays for its costs within a few years and continues to supply hot water for years to come.
We are very grateful to our main sponsor Electric Aid who funded this mission with €8,000. We thank also RVR of Kenmare, Co. Kerry and other Kerry suppliers for the wonderful support they have given this mission. Without all this support the mission would not be possible.
In countries from Galway to Kerry to Co.Down our fundraisers worked hard towards making this mission possible and we are very grateful to them all.
The Irish team were: John Kehoe, Ger Treacy, Padraic Kerins, Donie Broderick, Aidan Kennedy, John Kenneyd and Robert O Leary. They were supported by a local team of 4 tradesmen to install the systems. These local tradesmen will help the home to maintain the system.
John and his workmates also checked all the systems installed in Abania since 2009.
Photo shows the team with residents and the director of the Kavaja Home for the Elderly following installation of the solar water cylinder.

€12,000 for our work with patients and children in Albania

We would like to thank you for supporting our Fashion Show in the Galway Bay Hotel last week. We had over 350 guests and there was a great atmosphere on the night.

Our model agency, our shops, our exhibitors and most importantly our audience on the night have all informed us that the night was a great success.

We are delighted as a charity that the show raised over €12,000 for our work with patients and children in Albania. Our next trip to Albania is in May.

Keep an eye out for the local papers, Image and Galway Now magazines for photos and reports of the Show. 

Photos

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE PHOTOS

Fashion Show to be held in Galway Bay Hotel on Tuesday 1st April, 2014

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Jack McCann, Chairman of Irish Friends of Albania and Nuala Gorham of Catwalk Model Agency announcing the Fashion Show to be held in Galway Bay Hotel next Tuesday 1st April; Reception @7.15pm. Tickets €25 from Moya 087-8291916 or from Hotel. Great girls’ night out with comedy by FRANK FORDE! 

Training placement begins for Albanian Physicists


DoctorsMedical physics and radiotherapy are vital areas of patient care, in particular for the treatment of cancer.

We are delighted Rodina Myrku, a physicist from the Department of Physics and Dr. Altin Jusufati from the Department of Radiotherapy of Mother Theresa University Hospital, Tirana are undergoing training placements at Galway University Hospital. This follows on from the visit of GUH physicist Wil Van Der Putten and Radiotherapist Dr. Maeve Pomeroy to MTUH in 2012. The placement consists of a 2 week placement in Galway University Hospital under the guidance of Wil and his colleagues. Our Albanian guests  also participate in the Annual Meeting of the Irish Association of Physics in Medicine, which will take place in Galway on February 22nd. This is the highlight event of the year for this profession.

We are very grateful to the management of GUH and to the the Departments of Physics and Radiotherapy for making this training possible. This placement is supported by Irish Aid.

Photo: Rodina Myrku, Mr Jack McCann and Dr Altin Jusufati at GUH, Galway. 

Audited Accounts now available to view

auditWe have now posted our audit for 2012 to our website. Mazars of Salthill completed this audit and we are very grateful for their long standing support.  All our supporters and the general public are welcome to view the accounts. Our greatest supporters are you the general public which supports all our work and Irish Aid which supports our 3 years medical collaboration with Mother Theresa University Hospital.

Irish Friends of Albania Financial_Statements_2012

In 2011 and 2012 we have seen a fall  of over 20% in income raised from fundraising. This is to be expected in the current recession. Due to the remarkable generosity of the public and the dedication of our volunteers we still raise over 50,000 Euro per year from the public.

Irish Aid is supporting us with c. 55,000 Euro per year for the period 2011 to 2013 and this funding enables us to carry out a targeted programme of support to Mother Theresa Hospital for the benefit of the patients and the personnel who care for them.

Click here to see it: Irish Friends of Albania Audit 2012 

Solar Equipment Secured for Albania

solar-panels-on-houseWe are delighted that we have put together our equipment for the next solar installation project. With the generous support of Electric Aid and of suppliers, we have secured all the equipment we need from Ireland. The rest we will source locally in Albania. The equipment, valued at over €15,000 has been transported to Albania thanks to the help of other charities which have projects underway in Albania.

Our volunteer team from Kerry and Kilkenny travel to Albania in May 2014 to complete this installation. The venue is the Kavaja Home for the Elderly in central Albania. Currently we are testing water filters to ensure that the water supply is clean enough to enable the system to work to its full potential. At full potential the system will supply free hot water for the 60 residents as long as the sun shines, which it does in the sunny Balkan state.

Newcastle Community funds water treatment for Albania

eileen-ward-265x300The community of Newcastle, Co.Down, led by Eileen Ward, has been supporting us for 10 years now, and over that time it has donated over €35,000 towards our work. Eileen has a network of collectors throughout the community who collect small change only. Every 3 months or so Eileen gathers this and send us the proceeds, usually in time for our next visit to Albania.

In May 2013 Eileen sent us the phenomenal sum of €3,600 collected over the previous months. We are using these funds to send a water treatment system to the Home for the Elderly in Kavaja, Central Albania. We visited this home in 2012 and met the 60 residents and the personnel there. The Home has a good water supply from its own well, but it is badly affected by sand. This makes it undrinkable and unsuitable for cooking. It also clogs the pipes and eventually destroys the heating and plumbing systems. Our volunteer construction team, led by Killarney man John Kehoe, found the solution to this in a water treatment system which will filter out all sand.

Thanks to the support of Eileen and her community we have now purchased the system and we will install it in the Home this month.  This is, we hope,  the first step for our volunteer construction team. We have launched our plans for a visit to install a large solar powered water heating system in the Home. This will meet the washing and cooking needs of the 60 elderly people of the Home. This is an ambitous project and will cost over €30,000 but we are optimistic we can secure the funds and support.

Our thanks to the residents and personnel of the Kavaja Home for the Elderly for their warm welcome to us.

Photograph 1 shows Ms Eileen Ward together with Mr Jack McCann, Michael Gannon and school children from Newcastle who help Eileen with her collection network. Eileen was honoured for her work at a community event in Newcastle in 2012

Photograph 2 shows the Kavaja Home for the Elderly, Central Albania

Micro-Surgery Training Laboratory for Albania

LAAAB

Microsurgery is surgery with the aid of an operating microscope. Microsurgeons can repair blood vessels, tranfer tissue from one part of the body to another in order to heal wounds, and reattach severed digits. Microsurgery requires quality equipment and years of training.

We are assisting Mother Theresa University Hospital to develop the first Micro-Surgery Training Laboratory in Albania
A room has been dedicated within the hospital for the facility. We now need to find the necessary equipment: 5 microscopes–suitable for training purposes at least, 5 benches, 5 chairs with adjustable heights, Lights, 5 sets of instruments and clamps.

We seek the support of equipment from: hospitals which may be replacing equipment and medical supply companies which may have display models or trade ins

We are also seeking micro surgeons to teach in the laboratory. This would require short trips of 3 or 4 days to Tirana. We also operate on patients in the hospital, using the two operating microscopes of the hospital, one of which we donated in 2009.

If you can help this project, which is invaluable to surgery in Albania, Kosova and the entire Balkan region, please cotact our chairman Mr Jack McCann. The region has many patients and many dedicated young surgeons who need our help.

Our thanks to those who have already responded positively to our requests and to Irish Aid which is part funding this dream which we aim to make a reality in 2013.

Mr Jack McCann 
Chairman 
Irish Friends of Albania
15 University Road, Galway
 www.irishfriendsofalbania.com

irishfriendsofalbania@gmail.com

Full House for Fashion Show and €12,000 raised

fashionMany thanks to the full house of  400 people who came to our Fashion Show at the Galway Bay Hotel on March 12th. The night was a great success and raised 12,000 Euro for our work. Our 6th Annual Fashion Show was as exciting and stylish as ever. The Galway Bay Hotel  on the Promenade was thronged for a wonderful evening of Spring fashion. Catwalk models were joined by some of Galway’s hardest working doctors, some modelling for the first time, others becoming regular attractions of our event. Most of our favourite shops and exhibitions were with us again and they were joined by some exciting new ones. We were honoured by the presence of the Mayor of Galway Terry O Flaherty and of our great friend and long-time supporter Sabina Higgins from Aras an Uachtarain.

Images of the night and of the guests can be viewed at the website of our photographer Martina Regan.  at http://www.theimagefile.ie/web/martina/. The password is  albaniagalway1

The following shops and exhibitors took part on the night.

SHOPS:

Beverly Hills
Brown Thomas
Colette Latchford
Design House Barna
Emily Jean
E-Von Fashions
Flanagans Footwear
Galway Hat Shop
Kilkenny
Myriam O Reilly
Optique Opticians
Squisito
Standun
Treasure Chest

 EXHIBITS BY:

Brown Thomas (make-up)
Captain Tortue Group
Fiona Mangan Bespoke Headwear
Nurturing Touch
Wrapsody Gift Shop
Hair Stylist: Hut Salon
Gift Bags: University Pharmacy
Make Up: Sarah Duffy
Photography: Cigala D Or
Balloons: Fiesta House.

Great thanks are due to all and we hope their businesses will thrive in 2013. The funds raised will be used to cover costs of our renovation and installation of solar water heating systems of the Kavaja Home for the Elderly in Albania. 

We would like to  pay special tribute to Moya McCann and Mary McKearney who were tireless in their work over the past 3 months to make this such a successful event.

Click here: Irish Friends of Albania Fashion Show Poster

Mazars Galway Corporate Quiz raises funds for local charities

imagesOur auditors Mazars & Co. Ltd held their 3rd fund raising  Galway Corporate Table Quiz Challenge at the Menlo Park Hote on May 9th. Over 25 Galway busineses and organisations took part in a keenly contested event, deftly hosted by Mazars partner Paul Mee.

This event was held to find the brainiest company in Galway, while supporting the charities ‘Jigsaw’, and ‘Irish Friends of Albania’.

Well done to St. Mary’s  College who won out on the night in a close contest. They are the first team to retain the title. Our volunteer and director Mary McKearney organised this team but herself took part in our Friends of Albania team.

All prizes in the night were sponsored from different businesses and all facilities were provided free of charge. All funds raised went to these charities.  The event raised in total over 5,000 Euro for charity.

Jack McCann launches Albania photographic exhibition in Clare

12345CLARE’S Albanian community have come together to celebrate their heritage as part of a photography exhibition, which is set to be launched in Ennis this weekend.

The exhibition has been created in honour of 100 years of Albanian independence and it will be officially launched this Saturdayin the Clare Museum by Dr Jack McCann, chairman of  Irish Friends of Albania. The exhibition was compiled with the assistance of the Clare Albanian community and Irish Friends of Albania and it was first showcased in Galway in 2012.

According to Ndrek Gjini, Arts Office Assistant with Galway City Council, Clare is a fitting next stop for the exhibition due to the county’s sizeable Albanian population. “There are more than 300 Albanians living in Clare and more than that, Kosovans who are national Albanians too. Most of them made Ennis and Clare their home during the war in Kosovo in 1999.

During that war, the Irish government decided to send a humanitarian team to help and support those Albanians who were living in some camps in Albania escaping from Milosevic’s regime of genocide. Most of them have got now Irish citizenship and they are very well settled in Ennis and other towns in Clare. They own shops, restaurants, they run different businesses –  they are very well integrated into Irish society,” he said.

 This year is a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Albania. This exhibition, featuring photographic prints from the Albanian National Museum, is dedicated to this anniversary. Ndrek explained Albania has been controlled nearly continuously by a succession of foreign powers until the mid-20th century, with only brief periods of self-rule. “In the 11th century, Byzantine Emperor Alexius made the first recorded reference to a distinct area of land known as Albania and to its people. The Ottoman Empire ruled Albania from 1385-1912. The League of Prizren (1878) promoted the idea of an Albanian nation-state and established the modern Albanian alphabet, updating a language that survived the hundreds of years of Ottoman rule, despite being outlawed,” he outlined. “By the early 20th century, the weakened Ottoman Empire was no longer able to suppress Albanian nationalism. Following the conclusion of the First Balkan War, Albanians issued the Vlore Proclamation of November 28, 1912, declaring independence and the Great Powers established Albania’s borders in 1913. Albania’s territorial integrity was confirmed at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, after US President Woodrow Wilson dismissed a plan by the European powers to divide Albania among its neighbours. “During the Second World War, Albania was occupied first by Italy (1939-1943) and then by Germany (1943-44).

After the war, Communist Party leader Enver Hoxha managed to preserve Albania’s territorial integrity during the next 40 years but demanded a terrible price from the population, which was subjected to repression of civil and political rights, a total ban on religions, and increased isolation. “Following Hoxha’s death in 1985 and the subsequent fall of Communism in 1991, Albanian society struggled to overcome its historical isolation and underdevelopment. During the initial transition period, the Albanian government wanted closer relationships with the West in order to improve economic conditions and introduced basic democratic reforms, including a multi-party system. “Now, Albania is a member of the UN, member of NATO, member of Council of Europe and a potential candidate of the European Union since January 2003 and it formally applied for EU membership on April 28, 2009.”

The exhibition will be launched at 3.30pm in the Clare Museum and all are welcome.

The annual November volunteer team visit to Albania

999The annual November volunteer team visit to Albania will include 2 new initiatives for Irish Friends of Albania.

We make our first working visit to the Eye Clinic of Mother Theresa University Hospital. Mr Gerry Fahy of Galway has very generously joined our team and he will operate on children suffering from congenital ptosis. Children who suffer from ptosis cannot open their eyelids fully, in many cases they can only open their eyelids a fraction . It affects their vision and it is disfiguring.

In September and October Mr Fahy and Mr McCann used our tele-medicine unit to examine children in 5 centres of Albania and Kosova (Tirana, Pristina, Vlora, Kukes and Korca). This modern technology enabled Mr Fahy to diagnose their conditions and plan for their operations. It saved the children and their families journeys of hundreds of miles and it enabled us to deliver training to the Albanian doctors who work in the regions.  To date 7 children are listed for operation over a 3 day period.

We have ordered a new set of special instruments for ptosis operations and are making all the necessary arrangements for this first time visit to the Eye Clinic.

Our second initiative is a visit of 2 specialists to review the oncological services of MTUH with a view to assisting in the future where possible. Radiotherapist Dr. Maeve Pomeroy and physicist Wil Van Der Putten, both of GUH, will make their first visit to Albania. Wil has already established contacts with MTUH through his work at the Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Mr Jack McCann will operate on patient suffering from facial trauma in the maxillofacial surgery unit together with the Chief of the Unit, Professor Ramazan Isufi. Mr McCann will then travel to Kosova to work in the Plastic Surgery and Maxillofacial Surgery Units of Pristina University Hospital.

Our surgeons will then present papers at the Annual International Maxillofacial Surgery Conference, co-hosted by the Albanian Society of Maxillofacial Surgery and Irish Friends of Albania.

The full volunteer team for the November trip is:

Mr Jack McCann, Mr Gerry Fahy, Dr. Maeve Pomeroy, Will Van Der Putten, Dr. Kevin Clarkson (anaesthetist), Mary Fitzmaurice (theatre nurse), Geraldine McNulty (CSSD – sterilisation), Michael Gannon (administrator).

The Albania trip dates are November 4th to November 11th. The Kosova dates are November 12th to November 17th.

The trips and the purchase of necessary instruments and materials will be a major cost for our charity so we are very grateful for any donations which can ease the burden.

Mr Jack McCann on July Working Visit to Kosova

Our Chairman, plastic surgeon, Mr Jack McCann made his 5th volunteer working visit to Kosova for the period of July 16th to 20th.

Mr McCann worked with Professior Osman Sefije and local surgeons in the maxillofacial surgery department of Pristina University Hospital to operate on patients he first met on his last visit in May. These operations included scalp rotation flap for large carcinoma, advanced rotation flap for ancer of the  cheek and reconstruction of microstomia on  a child of 9 years old.

 Mr McCann lectured on themes of maxillofacial surgery at the Summer School of the Department of Medicine of the University of Pristina.

He was supported throughout the visit by our co-ordinator Margalina Sina from Tirana.

Special thanks to the University of Pristina for covering the travel and accommodation costs of this visit, which was of great benefit to patients, local medical personnel and students.

In this photograph taken at Pristina Universtiy are l to r:
Prof. Nasar Mrasori, vice rector of  Pristina University
Lina Sina, Co-ordinator Irish Friends of Albania
Mr Jack McCann, Plastic Surgeon, Chairman Irish Friends of Albania
Prof. Muje Rugova, the Rector of the Prishtina University,
Prof. Osman Sejfia, chief of Maxillofacial surgery service, Prisina University Hospital

 

 

Kosovar Surgeons on July Training Placement in Galway

doctor kosovaWe are delighted to welcome 3 plastic surgeons from Pristina University Hospital, Kosova to University Hospital Galway for a 2 week training observership. Dr.s Zejne Buja, Shkelqim Derguti and Ylber Zejnullahu have all worked with Mr McCann during his visits to Pristina and have been to Tirana to participate in our micro surgery missions and training conferences there over the years. All 3 completed a course in micro surgery in London from July 9th to 13th, with the support of the International Organisation for Migration. We were delighted to join forces with IOM in order to arrange an onward visit to Ireland.

Special thanks to the consultants and teams of the Plastic Surgery Department, to GUH administration for facilitating the visit and to the Irish Consulate in Belgrade for working tirelessly to process visas for the doctors.

We wish them a successful placement and hope they enjoy Galway in the Summertime.

Busy Week for Jack McCann in Kosova

fotoMr. Jack McCann, plastic surgeon and chairman of our charity, had a busy and varied working visit from May 13th to May 19th to Prishtina, Kosova. This is his 4th visit to Kosova since his first was made in May 2011. Our Albanian co-ordinator Margalina Sina accompanied Jack on this visit.

On his arrival Mr. McCann saw 60 patients in the clinic organized in the maxillofacial department of Prishtina University Hospital.

Over 4 days Mr. McCann operated six patients in the maxillofacial and plastic surgery units. This operations involved haemangioma of cheek and upper lip reduction, excision of naevus and finger deformities, breast reconstruction and carcinoma. During these operations the surgical teams of both departments participated.  The was a very important training week for them as many of these operations were being performed for the first time in Kosova

Many of these local doctors have participated in the operations and training workshops which we have carried out in Tirana over the past 3 years.

Mr McCann lectured to medical staff and students on site in the hospital. On Friday Mr McCann presented papers on the treatment of maxillofacial trauma at the Annual Conference of the Kosova maxillofacial surgeons Society. At this conference he was conferred with honorary membership of the society, along with an Italian colleague Mr. Bruzati.

Outside of clinics and theatre Mr McCann held meetings with a number of important supporters and policy makers. The minister for Health Ferid Agani thanked our charity for its contribution to Kosova and Albania.

He pledged his support for badly needed improvements to the facilities of plastic and maxillofacial surgery and the creation of facilities for a national burns unit and a micro surgery unit. The entire national health budget for Kosova, a country with 2 million people, is less than the budget for the western region of the HSE, so one can appreciate the difficulties in achieving investment and improvements.

Ms. Ruhije Hodza- Beganovic, medical officer of the International Organisation for Migration informed Mr McCann of its support to the Plastic Surgery Unit in Kosova. This support comes from Lichoping, Sweden and Swedish surgeons have been supporting the training and development of local surgeons. In July a group of 3 Kosova surgeons will train in micro surgery in London. We aim to compliment this training with placement training for the group in Galway hospitals. This will be valuable training achieved at very low cost.

Finally we donated 3 sets of plastic surgery instruments to Prishtina University Hospital. Our thanks to Murray Surgical for its assistance in supplying these instruments to us.

Mr McCann had many requests to return to Kosova. He is looking forward to his next visit, to the participation of Kosovar colleagues in our Tirana events and vica versa. Albania and Kosova are neighbouring countries with a common background and language and the development of common skills and services in healthcare can only benefit both peoples.

Solar Water Heating Installed for the 50 children of Durres Infants Home

Our construction team from Kerry and Kilkenny successfully completed its fourth volunteer visit to Albania from May 12th to 19th.

The team installed a solar panel water heating system for the 26 children of the state owned Infant’s Home in Durres, western Albania.  Many of the children are orphaned or were given over by their families in the care of the state. This home also caters for another 20 children who come daily to the centre. The home needs a reliable and economical supply of hot water.

The installation of a TiSun solar water heating system assures this free hot water to the Home for as long as the sun shines, which is over 300 days a year in Durres. This will reduce their electricity bills dramatically. Therefore the system more than pays for its costs within a few years and continues to supply hot water for years to come.

TiSun, the German manufacturer of the solar technology, generously donated the equipment in support of our work.

We are very grateful to RVR of Kenmare, Co. Kerry and other Kerry suppliers for the wonderful support they have given this mission. They have donated materials and supplied others at cost to the team. TiSun, the German manufacturer of the solar equipment has donated the main materials. Without all this support the mission would not be possible.

The people of Kerry and Kilkenny rallied around wonderfully to support this mission, and the team collected over €5,000 towards the cost of the mission.

Durres Home Construction Team

The Irish team were: John Kehoe, Ger Treacy, Dan Aylward, Padraic Kerins, Donie Broderick, Aidan Kennedy and Sean Daly. They were supported by a local team of 5 tradesmen to install the systems. These local tradesmen will help the home to maintain the sytem.

John and his workmates also checked the systems installed in Vlora in 2011 and in Tirana in 2009. Vlora had suffered a burn out due to a power overload, this was repaired and breakers to prevent further overloads were installed.

Photo shows the team with Ms Heroina, the director of the Durres Infants Home with the team, following installation of the solar water cylinder.

L to R: Dan Aylward, Isuf Dalliu, Donie Broderick, Adrain Baho, John Kehoe, Heroina, Aidan Kennedy, Ger Treacy, Padraic Kerins, Sean Daly, Isa Sulaj, Bujar Quku.

 

 

Annual General Meeting takes place on May 8th, 2012

We would like to invite you to the Annual General Meeting of Irish Friends of Albania, which will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday May 8th at the Meyrick Hotel. The meeting itself will be short, it will report on the busy year we had last year and look forward to the rest of 2012 and 2013. There are medical visits planned for late 2012 and for 2013. A construction team travels later this month. Fund raising events are ongoing. The AGM  will also elect some people to our Board of Directors. Following the meeting we will have a drink together and this is an opportunity to catch up with other volunteers and friends of the charity, some of whom go back 7 years now to our beginnings in 2005. Please join us if you can and please feel free to invite any friends or colleagues who may not have received this notice. Some people have changed their contact details over the years so we may not have accurate details for all our supporters.

Volunteer medical team visit completes surgery and training in Albania in February.

Albania CLinic 2Our volunteer team of 3 surgeons, 4 anaesthetists, 2 nurses and an A&E consultant completed a very successful visit to Mother Theresa University Hospital from February 5th to February 12th. Volunteer medical team visit completes surgery and training in Albania in February. Our volunteer team of 3 surgeons, 4 anaesthetists, 2 nurses and an A&E consultant completed a very successful visit to Mother Theresa University Hospital from February 5th to February 12th. The team worked in 4 areas with our colleagues in Mother Theresa University Hospital. In surgery our team continued its regular visits to the Maxillofacial Unit of MTUH, where surgeons operated to repair a fistula on a child suffering from a child palate, who had suffered severe breathing difficulties over the years. Our team operated on 3 patients in the Neurosurgery Unit. These patients had all suffered from cancerous tumours which Albanian surgeons had removed with success, but all patients needed ‘free flap’ surgery to heal the wounds left after this surgery. Free flap surgery is advanced surgery which transfers muscle and tissue from one area of the body to another area to close wounds. The surgery requires use of a microscope or surgical loops.

The operations were done together by Irish and Albanian plastic surgeons, with support from oncology and neuro surgeons.
This was our first working visit to the neurosurgery unit and we are very grateful for the warm welcome extended by the chief, Prof. Mentor Petrela and by all his staff in theatre, ICU and on the wards.

Our volunteer anaesthetists and ICU nurse delivered the 2 day BASIC (Basic Assessment and Support in Intensive Care) Course to a group of 25 Albanian and Kosovar doctors and nurses. The course lectures were given in the tele-medicine unit were broadcast to 6 regional centres throughout Albania and Kosova and followed by over 40 other doctors.
Hands-on training was delivered in the newly completed Intensive Care Unit of MTUH. This ICU will open in the next few weeks so our training of the assigned personnel was very timely.

Recently retired Chief of Galway University Hospital Accident & Emergency Services, Mr. Tony Martin, visited the newly completed Trauma Hospital in MTUH. He advised on the organisation of the new services there. Mr Martin toured the unit and met the key people who will run this service, which is the main A&E for over 2 million people. He gave hospital personnel, the hospital director and the Minister for Health the benefit of his Irish and international experience.

The entire team are pleased with the visit, which was complex and challenging to organise, but achieved all its aims. Unfortunately the collapse of Malev airlines required urgent rerouting of all the group just 2 days ahead of departure. Many thanks to the staff of Corrib Travel for their wonderful work on this front. Special thanks to Margalina Sina, our local co-ordinator and interpreter in Tirana for her tireless work to make the busy week such a success.

Most importantly the patients are doing well and looking forward to returning home from hospital soon.

The February 2012 volunteer team was

Name            Role
Thamir Ismail    Surgeon
Frank Conroy    Surgeon
Jack McCann    Surgeon
Tony Martin    A & E Consultant
John Bates            Anaesthetist & BASIC tutor
Tadhg Lynch    Anaesthetist & BASIC tutor
Clarkson, Kevin    Anaesthetist & BASIC tutor
Joseph Costello    Anaesthetist & BASIC tutor
Christine Sheehan    IC Nurse & BASIC tutor
Mary Fitzmaurice     Theatre Nurse

Thanks to all for giving so generously of their time and expertise, and for adapting so well to last minute flight changes, chilly weather in Tirana in April and long working days in the hospital.