SMMMS’ medical advisor Dr Marcus Stevens visited Gondar, Debark and Keyit during the month. During the trip he met with Carole Ashurst, who has dedicated most of her life to helping those in need. Together they visited Gonder hospital where they met Dr Solomon and Dr Shataye. Both doctors were very excited to hear about the SMMMS project in more detail and offered their ongoing support.

SMMMS discussed plans for first aid training in the mountains, including the importance of training those that can train others so the investment is sustainable in the long term. In addition we pledged to supply park scouts with small first aid kits.

Dr Marcus also visited Debark hospital where he met with Dr Mhretab, Dr Shegaw, and hospital CEO Zemicheal Gebreal. They had a very productive afternoon discussing various areas for collaboration between the hospital and SMMMS. They are fully committed to furthering the service the hospital can provide and clearly hope to develop a close link with SMMMS. In their words, “let us work to make this hospital like your home. Bring your friends and colleagues and we can work together. You are always welcome here.”

Dr Marcus discussed organising a training session at the hospital for the SMMMS nurses covering basic surgical skills and a variety of other topics, to be chosen by the nurses themselves and taught under the supervision of Dr Shegaw. This would be a fantastic resource for the nurses, allowing them to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Dr Shegaw is very keen to supervise the clinic and provide regular advice and education, essentially an in-country medical adviser.

Given that Debark hospital has a desperate lack of textbooks with their ‘library’ only containing ten books Dr Marcus donated several medical textbook along with a few stethoscopes.

The dental equipment has finally arrived safely at Debark Hospital from Addis. Debark hospital is very thankful for the dental equipment recently donated and are hopeful it should be in use soon, they are organising a biomedical engineer to set it up and have applied to the health ministry to transfer a dentist to the hospital. Once functioning it will be the first ever dental service in the area.

A big thank you again to the Belgian dentist who donated his entire surgery, Ethiopian airlines and Dentaid.

A big thank you to Exodus travel and adventure holidays for their generous donation of first aid kits for all the Simien Mountains National Park Guides and Scouts following their successful completion of a first aid course. This will not only benefit trekkers in general but give a first capability to the villages.

We are exploring possible cooperation with SaddleAid, an organisation that designs and produces inflatable donkey saddles to transport injured or disabled people. This donkey friendly technology could have a very important use in the mountains when casualties need to be evacuated to Debark. The saddles would be positioned at the clinic and with a number of mule handlers in nearby villages who could be contacted in case of emergency in order to get casualties to the closest access road where they can be picked up by vehicle.