Let’s walk together

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Title of the project

Let’s walk together

Place of the action

Asmara, Eritrea

Description of the context

In Eritrea there are complex socio-sanitary conditions such as: limited availability of financial resources for hospitals and a deficient education system in specialist healthcare, which unfortunately does not ensure adequate orthopaedic care to the population, particularly to children. For several years, Annulliamo la Distanza in partnership with Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna started a cooperation with the Eritrean Ministry of Health, the Halibet Hospital in Asmara and in the last two years also with UNICEF Eritrea, in order to provide for the care of children with malformations the lower limbs in a country where this type of support is not guaranteed by the local health.
This collaboration has provided the coaching staff with the Eritrean Health Orthopedic, anesthetists, nurses and Italian technicians in order to start the activities of pediatric orthopedic surgery at the Halibet Hospital in Asmara.
Over the course of six years we were organized several expeditions during which they were visited over 800 children. In addition to congenital clubfoot we were observed a multitude of diseases severely debilitating childhood including congenital hip dysplasia, cerebral palsy, axial deformities of the lower limbs and trauma outcomes. Among these, they selected 400 children who underwent surgery and for 45 cases of congenital clubfoot inveterate, was carried out a research study in collaboration between the Eritrean professionals and the Italian professionals. Beyond that, we make void the Distance has completed the construction of two new operating theatres thanks to private funding and financing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation-MAECI- through UNICEF Eritrea.

The project

The project aims at improving the quality of public health services in Eritrea by providing expertise and the provision of materials necessary to empower local specialists in the treatment of certain diseases. It also aims at ensuring that children have access to basic health treatments, taking into account that, in case of malformation, the lack of surgical operation certainly will produce severe disability and marginalization, with dramatic results in the lives of these children. The project aims specifically at providing care, treatment and rehabilitation of children with limb malformations (egg, clubfoot, knee valgus, etc.), together with training to local doctors in order to let them acquire full autonomy for carrying out paediatric orthopaedics surgical operations. This objective will be achieved through the translation into practice of the agreements already signed in Bologna between the Eritrean Minister of Health and the Director General of the Institute Rizzoli, and in Asmara between the Eritrean Ministry of Health and Anladi, on the basis of programs shared by Professor Cesare Faldini Rizzoli Institute and by the Halibet Orthopaedic Hospital in Asmara. The team of Rizzoli will carry out trainings on the job to a local team of doctors and nurses.
During the missions, the Italian specialists will also hold a series of lectures, both theoretical and practical as completion of the program and a training for the nurses and staff who specifically work inside the operating rooms.

Achieved results

Since 2009, 14 missions have been carried out in order to train surgeons working at Orthopaedic Hospital Halibet. More than 1800 have been visited while about 480 kids underwent a surgical operation.In June 2015, two operating rooms have been inaugurated at theOrthopaedic Hospital Halibet: since then, medical staff have been using the operating rooms daily, performing over 1,200 surgical operations a year as well as reductions fractures by using a plaster cast. Therefore, we supported the Halibet health staff not only by doing surgical operations together, but also by providing them equipment for operating independently.