April 2019 Bhutan Trip

In April 2019, Darcy O'Neil was a part of an Interplast Australia and New Zealand combined intensive program of hand surgery, therapy and education sessions. This year’s joint trip with 'Helping Hands in Bhutan', our inhouse charity program, has now been visiting Bhutan for 10 years! Interplast was split between 2 cities; Thimphu and Mongar.

Half the team flew to Bumthang to then drove to Mongar to the Mongar Eastern Regional Referral Hospital to undertake a surgical clinic. Megan Fitzgerald, Hand Therapist, provided allied health mentoring program and oversaw the refurbishment of the Mongar Hand Therapy Clinic. Thank you again for all of the kind donations that facilitated this $5,000.00 make over, including a new computer.

The other the half of the team worked in Thimphu, the Capital, screening at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). We saw over 100 patients in our hand therapy clinic in Thimphu. The conditions seen were complex and diverse, ranging from children with congenital anomalies to adults with wild animal attacks (bears and boars). The therapy team completed all the rehabilitation following the complex reconstructive hand surgery cases.

During the Interplast visit 7 physiotherapists and physiotherapy technicians from regional areas across Bhutan attended an education and mentoring program. This occurred via observation, mentoring, supervised practice and formal and informal education.

Darcy provided formal lectures on elbow anatomy and assessment, management of common elbow conditions and contractures. Darcy provided training in the clinic which allowed trainees to participate in supervised wound care, assessment, and treatment.

Darcy attended a meeting with the Health Minister with Dr Tim Proundman to discuss the ongoing training of a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon and Hand Therapists. The Health Minister expressed interest in exploring online based Hand Therapy education options.

Our fund raising via Southern Adelaide Health Institute – Bhutan Fund allowed us to provide an enormous amount of greatly needed splints and therapy equipment, which is unavailable in Bhutan.

Once again, thank you to all of you who donate regularly to our Bhutan Fund and allow us to continue 'Helping Hands in Bhutan'.

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"We’ve helped set up hand care clinics in Bhutan, provided specialist equipment and trained local staff."