Hungarian medical missions in Africa – PHOTOS
The goodwill missions of the African-Hungarian Union (AHU) started in Congo a few years ago – in 2009, in a refugee camp. The Hungarian doctors travelled there to help in the frameworks of the Children of War medical mission, GLOBS Magazine said. Since then, they took part in 16 similar missions in six countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo was followed by Mali, Madagascar, Guinea, Malawi and Uganda.
They attended to more than 40 thousand people all together, and more than 40 doctors took part in the missions. They cured in the jungle, in schools, under the sky and in prison; they treated malaria, bones that had been broken for months, AIDS, hollow heart, dirty wounds; they helped with complicated childbirths and cured diseases that are unknown in Europe.
They attended to patients who saw doctors for the first and probably last time in their lives.
The doctors take on these missions during their vacation, and also cover a part of the expenses themselves.
Dr Anna Jakkel, a general practitioner from Kecskemét, took part in six missions. She first visited the refugee camp in Congo. She came across a newspaper ad which said that AHU was recruiting doctors. She felt like she wanted a change in her life, and the time had come for this change. So she applied. After a month – along with her colleagues – she felt like she wanted to stay longer, even though her practice and family was waiting for her at home. She says that it felt great to step out of her comfort zone and to see that there was a different way of life. She came home with optimism, positive energies and learned that we need to move on from petty things. We can and we need to live differently.
She returned to an orphanage in Mali three months later. They cured children in Bamako, and also took there hospital equipment and dressing-material. They managed to equip a few consulting rooms in a way that local colleagues could continue their mission from there on. And this is not an easy task.
The most basic things like piped water, electricity, gas, internet, radio and television are not available there, there aren’t even roads, there’s no administration, vaccination discipline, in fact, they don’t even know about vaccination.
“In a place where there’s nothing, it’s very hard to face how helpless we are. There are no equipment, CT scan, MRI, laboratory, but there are patients in the middle of the jungle.
There’s a path, which was quite hard to take with our backpacks that contained all of our equipment, and which could be washed away by rain any day. We know that if these kids are not attended to urgently, they’ll die in our hands. Just like adults, who have incarcerated hernia, for instance.”
However, there are not only important, but also great moments as well. Doctress Jakkel says that everyone has to take some time off once for rejuvenation. It’s like a pilgrimage, where you experience local events. For instance, a wedding, where cooking women happily stir the meals, just like in the Hungarian countryside, and where brides enjoy that they are in the centre of attention for once in their lives.
Why do mainly women take part is these types of charity missions?
Dr Anna Jakkel believes that women can perform better, because they are motivated by empathy and helpfulness instead of prestige. For that matter, doctors don’t only cure: although they leave, the patients are still there, so the doctors give them advice about how they can facilitate their lives and avoid serious diseases. And they try to do it in a way that the patients don’t feel like they’re being indoctrinated.
AHU is currently building a hospital in Kapeke, Uganda, so that they won’t have to lay aside what they had started. Ten local doctors fall onto one million residents in the region. But AHU already had two surgical missions beside the general medical missions: surgeons travelled to Malawi in 2016 and 2017 to perform cervical and head operations.
Source: By Ildikó Karakai/GLOBS Magazine