I have had the enormous privilege of living, working, and travelling with two incredible Malagasy doctors over the last 6 months delivering training to hospital teams throughout Madagascar. Dr Hasina Rakotoarison recently shared her reflections on this experience, she graciously agreed to let me share it here! Over to you Hasina…
‘I had never heard of the Checklist until my Supervisor at the Hospital proposed it as an interesting topic for my thesis to finish my medical degree. I chose to study this area because I was very interested in patient safety, and the Checklist was little known in Madagascar but had astonishing benefits for the safety of the patient having surgery. I always had in mind that I want to become a surgeon, so I planned to apply the checklist to my own work, but I never imagined that I could have an opportunity to share the benefits of the checklist with other teams around the country. For me, this project with Mercy Ships is very exciting because it has made a dream of mine come true; to share what I have learned and spread the message to surgical teams in every region.
During the last 17 training courses, I have discovered that many other people are also very passionate about increasing the security of patients undergoing surgery, but they don’t have many opportunities to discuss this together and find practical solutions. Even though I am Malagasy myself, I did not realise the challenges some of these teams face in their everyday working lives. For example, some teams in remote regions are very isolated, the health care needs of their population can be very great, and the hard-working hospital staff manage in difficult conditions.
This training course has given me an opportunity to encourage those who share the vision to increase the quality of care for patients, and work together with them to make that vision a reality in their local hospital.
I have also seen how a tool like the Checklist can transform the atmosphere in teams, improving communication and working relationships. Even our training team didn’t recognise the significance when some hospital teams said that the secret of their success was ‘love’. This is something I have learned from them when I read the feedback forms! Because even such a simple word like ‘”LOVE” I didn’t understand until much later when I came to realise how right they were in saying you have to “Love each other”. The Checklist is not just a simple tool, it can change the whole hospital. The Checklist brings love with it and can change everything at a place where it is implemented well. We have noticed that where teams support each other and communicate well, you can FEEL the difference in the working atmosphere if they have love in their team.
The hospital teams I have met on this project demonstrate by their actions the true meaning of ‘love’ described in book of Corinthians:
‘Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.’ 1 Cor 13:7
In the future, I wish to remember those people from the places I have visited where there is great need, and would love to have the opportunity to revisit them to assist in providing healthcare and bringing ‘hope and healing’.