The Mission was proposed by Marina Goldman R.N. who has worked as a volunteer with Peace Corps and traveled to Sierra Leone many times over the past 20 years. After discussion with Marina it was clear that Kabala would be an appropriate spot for ISHI to have a mission. In June of 2011 Marina and medical student Zak Kaufman traveled to Sierra Leone and met with officials from the Kabala hospital who agreed to host a surgical mission. In collaboration with a British GP Dr. Connie Smith and a local health care provider Mr. Peacemaker, surgical patients were triaged in preparation for the mission. Mr. Peter Conte District chairman of the Koinadugu District also welcomed the mission and was instrumental in hosting the team. The objectives of the mission were to: have a safe and gratifying experience for all volunteers, perform 55 major and 75 minor surgeries (130 cases), and teach local staff: formally in classroom
& informally at a beside and in the OR, deliver medication and equipment in short supply in Kabala, donate medical supplies and electrocautery, and evaluate Kabala hospital and the needs of community for possible repeat ISHI missions.
Getting to Kabala involved a 20 hour plane trip to Freetown Airport followed by a ferry crossing to this Capital, and a 7 hour bumpy ride on local roads in fully loaded bus. ISHI team members carried along with their own personal bags, all of the supplies, surgical instruments, medications and equipment they would need for the week of operations that they would soon be providing. The team arrival was broadcasted on the local radio station, which resulted in patients coming from all over the district in the following days. Some walked hours from their remote villages to get to Kabala
About 140 operations were completed during our mission (80 in Escalante and 50 in Sagay). Our patients were all from the local areas and had responded positively to the extensive publicity that our team would be arriving to provide free surgeries. Surgeries provided included hernia repairs, soft tissue mass excisions, hysterectomies, colostomy reversal and treatment of conditions such as breast cancer, undescended testicle and many others. Patients stayed free of charge in the hospital perioperatively, and all of their medications were provided to them by ISHI.