Dr. Carlo Pezcoller in Kisumu, Kenya 2013

The visit of Dr. Carlo Pezcoller to Kisumu. Kenya in February 2013

With the true friends one arrives very far.

European Ostomy Association, Lions Clubs of Modena (Italy) and Kenia, and FAIS (Italian ostomy Association) take hope and concreteness to the African countries of the great lakes

And where are the great African lakes? They are on the East African uplands, around the equator. The largest one is the lake Victoria and alongside its banks three states border: Kenia, Tanzania and Uganda. The towns are, of course, in large numbers. Among them, there is Kisumu, a Kenian small town where the last February the recentest course on stoma surgery and stoma care was held. This course and training was supported mainly by the project LFSC, Lions For Stoma Care, then by EOA, and also by FAIS.

If EOA does not need any introduction, and that about FAIS it is enough to say that it is the Italian federation of the regional ostomy association, more words must be said to present Lions Club of Modena (the Italian town nearby the Ferrari plant) which was able to aggregate the whole Lions District 108 TB (including the whole Modena’s province and a good portion of the Italian region Emilia Romagna), around the project Stoma Care for the more disadvantaged countries.

Since 1999 the Modena’s Lions Club has been financing courses held all over the world by professor Carlo Pezcoller, of course from Modena and who was also a founder of the Italian Federation of Ostomy Associations FAIS, about stoma surgery and stoma care after the surgical operation. Professor Pezcoller taught nurses and surgeons; from his involvement several ostomy associations were born in many countries where who had to live with a stoma was forced to face his problem alone and without any help. I mention just two couples of examples: from Vietnam to Mongolia, from Bolivia to Argentina where now there are active centers for the ostomy rehabilitation and live ostomy associations; although much work has to be still accomplished, they are now able to stand on their own feet.

From the end of last year 2012, my good friend Carlo Pezcoller and I got in touch with a Tanzanian ostomy association, CHAASTA, which needed desperately to educate surgeons and nurses to improve the ostomate life conditions of their region around lake Victoria.

So Carlo and I organized a training from February 11th to February 16th on this year in Kisumu (Kenia). This course has been atended by 41 participants: 7 surgeons, 17 nurses, 6 ostomates, and other professionists like nutritionists, social workers, and gastroenterologists. All of them came from the three states likeside the lake Victoria: Kenia, Tanzania and Uganda. The teachers have been Carlo Pezcoller, doctor Harikesh Buch from India, surgeon and ostomate, past president o f IOA International Ostomy Association, the stomaterapist Rosine an den Bulk, belgian but born in Congo, and president of the International Stomaterapist Association, and two Kenian surgeons.

The teachers began from the anatomy and the fisiology, then passed to the surgery and to the complications, and arrived at the rehabilitation and at the importance to establish ostomy associations. Finally, an action plan has been worked out for each one of the three countries with the aim to identify the next goals, including the clearing of the actual family and society discriminations, the opening of new ostomy rehabilitation centers, the foundations of patients associations and the diffusion of the acknoledgments acquired in the Kisumu training.

When an action is the source of following actions, it means that it achieved its goal, because results, to be really effective and lasting, must be dynamic and they must grow during the time, just as it is happening now after the course of Kisumu.

Napoleon used to say: “C’est l’argent qui fait la guerre”. It’s money which makes the war, but fortunately money does not make only wars, because it allows also peace and development initiatives, and Kisumu is a good demostration of that. And so, who put this “argent” for Kisumu ? I already mentioned at the beginning of this article who was, but now I and all of us have to thank them full of gratitude.

First of all the Lions Club of Modena which, to finance this kind of international undertaking about the toma suregery and stoma care, opened the project LFSC, Lions For Stoma Care.

The travel and the stay for the three teachers from Europe and India, and also the stay for the students, have been paid by Lions of Modena and of Kenia; in addition the Lions Clubs of Kenia took the commitment to sponsor the expenses for the next education of further nurses and surgeons in Kenia. Also the European Ostomy Association covered minor, but however considerable, expenses. Lastly, FAIS did not partecipated economically, but put two of its best persons at disposal of this course to fulfil in the best way our course in Kisumu.

We are aware that there are still many and many further tasks to begin and to develop, but today let’s get satisfaction from knowing what we accomplished with care with appreciated results.

Giuseppe De Salvo