Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) - "It is an ambitious project that will allow us to change the local situation for the better", says to Agenzia Fides, Dr. Fabio Massimo Abenavoli, President of Emergenza Sorrisi, in presenting the collaboration initiated by the association he presides with San Massimiliano Kolbe of Sabou medical Center in the center of Burkina Faso, managed by the Friars Minor Conventual. "The religious offer fundamental assistance to a population of about 120,000 people who rely on this hospital", says Dr. Abenavoli. "We will carry out a highly specialized activity that has gathered the strong interest of local health authorities".
Our association - explains doctor Abenavoli - carries out maxillofacial plastic surgery on children with cleft lip, burns and traumas due to war and all those diseases related to deformities. Our main focus however is the training of local doctors in order to contribute to making the health systems of the countries in which we work "autonomous".
"In Sabou, in collaboration with the Friars Minor Conventuals, we started the project for the creation of a surgical reference point within San Massimiliano Kolbe Medical Center", explains the President of Emergenza Sorrisi.
Currently the medical center offers services ranging from emergency room to a general medical ward with 25 beds for adults and 30 for children, a maternity ward with 12 beds and a nutritional recovery center for malnourished children.
"Thanks to an important contribution from the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), the center will be equipped with two operating theaters and an eye clinic", explains Dr. Abenavoli. "Besides the assistance to the local population, the center will take care of the professional training of surgeons from both Burkina Faso and neighboring Countries. Moreover, in collaboration with some Italian universities, we will organize some Masters courses, or very advanced refresher courses for some specialized surgical branches, such as microsurgery, eye surgery and orthopedics".
The Hospital of the Friars Minor Conventual of Sabou is situated in the center of Burkina Faso and is already an important point of reference not only for local populations but also for those which are more distant.
"It can now become a high-profile reference point for the professional training of doctors throughout the Country, also because Sabou is situated on an important road that runs through Burkina Faso.
The health center is therefore easily reachable not only from different places in the country but also from neighboring countries", emphasizes the doctor.
We ask Dr. Abenavoli how the new structure can contribute to improving health in the area. "The most common diseases that occur in Burkina Faso are infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue, and related to child malnutrition", he says. "Then there are diseases aggravated by the lack of health support. For example, we have operated children with very extensive tumors because they were not discovered in the early stages because of the lack of doctors. And it is here that we hope to succeed in positively influencing the training of local specialized medical personnel", he concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/3/2018)