Meet Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Andry
Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, is home to over twenty-two million people. But there are only eight surgeons who specialize in orthopedics and traumatology. Most of them are located in the capital city, Antananarivo.
In the port city of Tamatave, where the Mercy Ships is docked, Dr. Randrianirina Andry is the only orthopedic surgeon. He says, “We need to train more people to become orthopedic surgeons. We especially need more adequate conditions and equipment for these types of surgery.”
The statistics verify his statement. It is estimated that over 15,000 adults and children are afflicted with neglected clubfoot, and nearly a thousand babies are born with clubfoot each year. In addition, people suffer from other orthopedic deformities, such as bowed legs.
Driven by a passion for bringing hope and healing to those who would never otherwise receive treatment, Mercy Ships provided 55 free orthopedic surgeries and over 990 orthopedic therapy services during the 2014-2015 Madagascar Field Service.
But Mercy Ships also invested in the long-term future of Madagascar’s health infrastructure by providing healthcare education. The healthcare education projects impart knowledge and skills, while modeling and encouraging compassion and a professional work ethic. In addition to offering internationally recognized courses for groups and structured observation in the Africa Mercy hospital, Mercy Ships also provides one-on-one mentoring opportunities.
Mentoring projects offer targeted, in-depth clinical teaching for individuals. Dr. Andry participated in our surgeon mentoring program, and he built a strong bond with his mentor, Dr. Frank Haydon.
Dr. Frank says, “Anatomy transcends language. Pictures and X-rays are common in any language. Dr. Andry has been quite keen to come in and work. He’s anxious to learn more. He’s very skillful … great technique surgically … he has good hands. We’re lucky to have him. He also has to take calls in the community and has a ward full of patients that he has to see twice a day.”
For six weeks, Dr. Andry spent two to three days each week as an active participant in our Africa Mercy operating room team. He absorbed a lot of knowledge. He says, “The difference between the training I got before and this new one is about the practice. Before, the training was theoretical. The practicing time was short. It was a theoretical training. That is what I got before. But here, we don’t have too much theoretical training! The most important is practicing. For example, in the operating room, I learned something new and easy to practice, something I didn’t know before. It doesn’t require special tools or something expensive that we cannot have. It’s easy and useful. It’s a knowledge that we can use directly, and that makes this training really different. “
The knowledge he gained has transformed Dr. Andry’s day-to-day practice. “I thank Dr. Frank. He taught me a lot – especially in pediatric orthopedic surgery. Currently it is Dr. Frank’s technique that I always use for the surgical treatment of clubfoot and also the Ponseti method,” he added.
Furthermore, like every surgical mentoring participant, Dr. Andry completed the WHO Safe Surgical Checklist training. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of care-associated infection can be 20 times higher in developing countries than in developed countries. Charitable organization Lifebox has partnered with Mercy Ships to promote quality, safe care, using pulse oximetry. In low-resource settings, this simple checklist has resulted in a 47% decrease of surgical mortality, 36% reduction in major complications, and 50% reduction in infection rates.
Dr. Andry teaches orthopedics and anatomy as part of the Medical Faculty of Tamatave, and he is passionate about sharing the knowledge he has learned. Through dedicated doctors like Dr. Andry, Mercy Ships hopes to leave a legacy that will sustain and spread.
Dr. Andry says, “My message for Malagasy people … having Mercy Ships here in Madagascar is really important. They help us a lot, especially for healthcare. For doctors … it’s really important for us because we get new knowledge, new experiences. It’s important for all of us, and we thank them all. For sponsors … thank you very much because without you, all of this would be impossible. I hope that sponsoring will continue. For the crew … I hope that you will continue to volunteer.”
As we approach the close of this year, let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges and trials faced by so many, especially those who have experienced profound loss. This season, while we gather with loved ones to celebrate, let’s also remember those who are still suffering, those who have lost their way, and those who have lost their faith in a better tomorrow.
During this holiday season, we invite you to join us in this mission of compassion, faith, and renewal.
Your generosity can make a real and lasting impact.
This Christmas season, let’s come together as a community of faith and support to bring restoration to people who have lost so much. Mercy Ships Canada is on a mission to heal and transform the lives of Children and adults in need. Your gift, rooted in faith, can make a significant difference in the lives of countless people. Your support will bring back smiles, health, and faith to children and adults who have suffered for far too long. Donate today and make this Christmas truly meaningful.
At Mercy Ships Canada, we serve those who have lost hope, bringing healing and transformation. Our volunteers, inspired by their faith, work selflessly to perform surgeries that renew not only bodies but also faith and hope. This Christmas, be a part of the miracle by making a donation to Mercy Ships Canada. Your contribution will help renew faith and offer a second chance at life. Together, we can make a significant impact on those who have suffered for too long.
As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of the immense power of faith and the importance of giving back to those in need. This Christmas, you have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope, healing and transformation for those who need it most.
Your support this Christmas will not only change lives but also reaffirm the spirit of giving and faith. Join us in spreading love, hope, and healing.
Make a donation today, and together, we can transform the lives of people who have lost so much.
Our journey continues, and we’re excited to have you by our side as we embark on new adventures of compassion and change.
The last time Catherine Conteh saw the deeply familiar smile in front of her in Freetown, it was under dramatically different circumstances. Learn more about Aly’s act of kindness!