In November 2016, at the invitation of Professor Raja Sabapathy, ReSurge Director Mr. Martyn Webster visited the Ganga Hospital in Coimbatore, India. The Ganga Hospital is the brainchild of Professor Sabapathy and his Orthopaedic surgeon brother – They are both extremely busy, dealing with patients from all over India and performing superb reconstructive surgery upon a whole range of conditions: Burns, Congenital abnormalities, tumours and trauma. Despite the huge volume of patients seen and treated, Ganga hospital is highly organized with a general high morale amongst the staff, who are clearly proud of their work, and are glad to be working in such a unit. There were also a large number of visitors, mostly trainees from other parts of India and the rest of the world…clearly the fame of their hospital is growing fast!
One of the attractions at Ganga hospital must be the microsurgical laboratory, where six trainees spend one week learning how to perform micro vascular anastomoses…The laboratory is organised very much as the late Bob Acland (of whom Professor Sabapathy was a disciple) organised his laboratory in Kentucky. Indeed Professor Sabapathy has taken on the production and distribution of Acland’s book on microsurgery and with profit raised, has established a scholarship for trainee surgeons.
During his time at Ganga, Mr. Webster visited the Nursing School and College and was introduced to its head, Dr Esther John Ph.D. who is the Principal of the Ganga Institute of health Sciences. To Martyn’s surprise, he was met by a brass band, flower garlands and a tree planting ceremony! The College was comprehensibly and impressively equipped to the highest standard. In addition to the school of nursing, Ganga hospital has two other ‘off-shoots’, a prosthetic Department and a residential physiotherapy unit for paraplegics. They are well thought out and impressively effective units. The Physiotherapy unit is even equipped with a printing workshop, which produces printing for the Ganga hospital and other commercial firms, thus generating an income for itself.
From Coimbatore, Mr. Webster flew north and attended the APSICON meeting in New Delhi, where he gave a short paper on the efforts of ReSurge Africa in Ghana and Sierra Leone. This meeting was very well organised, with a large number of people attending; the hospitality offered being extremely generous. There was also a large number of firms exhibiting in the commercial sector.
Over the years Professor Sabapathy has been a hugely supportive partner of ReSurge Africa, offering his hospital, his endless generosity and hospitality to ReSurge trainee Surgeons, Anaesthetists, and latest physiotherapist trainee, Bala from Sierra Leone. Martyn Webster and Raja Sabapathy met in Glasgow at Canniesburn in the 1980’s where a friendship was forged, based on Martyn’s kindness to a ‘visiting surgeon’. Professor Sabapathy has not forgotten this kindness and based on it, now offers the same to our visiting trainees. ReSurge Africa is extremely grateful and looks forward to many years of this great partnership.