Oluwafisayo Tunde-agbede, MD: Morristown Medical Center OB/BYN PGY 4
Mali: November 2017

I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I decided to go on the trip to Mali. I was very excited as it was the first time I was going to an African country that was not Nigeria (where I was born). I was also nervous because I did not speak French or Bambara and was concerned about how I would communicate with my patients while I was there.

When I arrived, the warmth of the people was evident immediately and through gestures and smiles and very broken French, I was able to get most of my points across. After we arrived in Bamako, we drove for 6 more hours to get to Koutiala where I was to spend the next 10 days.

While I was there, I saw many patients in the clinic, did a lot of GYN and obstetric ultrasounds and a few surgeries as well including being a first assist to help the pediatric surgeon because they were very short staffed. I was amazed about how much the doctors/surgeons there were able to accomplish with their minimal resources. They were always thinking of ways to innovate and substitute to give the patients the best care possible. I learned so much during my time there and made me realize that there is really no limit to learning or innovation. Despite their lack of resources and the many obstacles they face every minute, they are the most optimistic people I have ever worked with.

There are some moments I will never forget like the family that had to stay up all night ventilating their one month old in respiratory failure because the nurses were so short staffed and there are no ventilators in the hospital. But overall, I was so inspired by this trip, to do more, to always think of ways to help my local community and continue my work with global health and most of all inspired by the strength of the women of Mali, where epidurals don't exist and they deliver silently and never cry.

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The Benjamin H. Josephson, MD Fund
Overlook Medical Center / Atlantic Health System
Summit, New Jersey
908-522-2853