Surgical team headed to Burkina Faso

Nathan Liewicki
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Jackie Wilson, a nurse, hands Dr. Ali Cadili a tensor bandage in a supply room at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital on Wednesday. The duo, which are part of a five-person team, will be bringing plenty of medical supplies, equipment and medication to Burkina Faso in November for a 10-day surgical mission.

Medical mission scheduled for November

Jackie Wilson has been to Mexico to help build a home for a less fortunate family, but in November she will be participating in her first international surgical mission.

“It’s going to be such a good learning opportunity to see how another culture practices health care. So, hopefully we can fit in and lend a hand,” said Wilson, a nurse at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital.

Wilson, along with Dr. Ali Cadili and a team of at least three other individuals, including an anesthetist, a surgical assistant and another nurse, will be flying to Burkina Faso in November to provide 10 days of surgical coverage for people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it.

For now it’s a five-person team, but Wilson is hopeful to convince another nurse or two to join the group.

According to her, the initial idea for the trip arose from a tease Dr. Cadili made.

“Truthfully, I think it happened because he was teasing me about wanting to do a trip like this,” said Wilson. “So, he came up to me and asked me if I could line up a trip and if I did then he would come.”

From there, Wilson contacted Bridges of Hope, a non-profit agency based out of Lethbridge – that was about three month ago.

She said Daniel Zopoula, the CEO of the agency, essentially told her to start packing her bags for the West African nation.

Like Wilson, Dr. Cadili has never been on an international surgical mission himself and is looking forward to what lies ahead in Burkina Faso.

“It will be interesting to see the differences and types of diseases, and how we are going to be able to manage to do surgeries without optical equipment and conditions, and doing them safely,” said Dr. Cadili. “To me it's a bit of a challenge.”

Another challenge is raising the necessary funds needed to get each member of the team to and Africa – approximately $5,000 – and raising funds for medical equipment, supplies and medication.

Therefore, from 5 until 9 p.m. on Friday, the team is hosting a fundraiser at Bugsy’s Irish Pub to raise funds for their trip.

Tickets for the event, which includes a silent auction, can be purchased at the door at a cost of $15.

“It’s been a lot of fun planning it and seeing where it’s going to go,” said Wilson. “It’s going to be a really amazing opportunity.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Union Hospital, West African, Irish Pub

Geographic location: Burkina Faso, Lethbridge, Africa

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