By Christopher Cullis |

I spent the first two weeks of October in Ethiopia at the Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital in Adama with the International Partnership for Reproductive Health.

IPRH is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) located in Bryan and founded in 2008 by Dr. Sharon Ransom and her husband, Peter Gooch, both of Bryan. Dr. Ransom is an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) employed by Parkview Physicians Group in Bryan and Gooch is a retired art professor from the University of Dayton.

The couple have traveled to Ethiopia several times to perform cervical cancer screenings and infertility treatment at Sister Aklesia. This trip was different for Dr. Ransom because she also was training the physicians and nurses how to perform the procedures so that screenings could continue after Dr. Ransom returned to the United States.

I was invited along to help document the training sessions. In the process I was able to represent Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers in the sense that I have been a long-time — 27 year — member of the board of directors of CHWC. It should be noted that CHWC and Sister Aklesia are sister hospitals recognizing the relationship of Dr. Ransom and her work at Sister Aklesia.

We arrived at Sister Aklesia Memorial Hospital in Adama, Ethiopia, on Sunday Oct. 4, in the afternoon following a two-day stopover in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

Our first task was to put together the LEEP (Loop Electro Excision Procedure) stand and tool. Having put together G.I. Joe aircraft carriers and Barbie dream houses I was able to assemble the LEEP stand the first go around.

The LEEP unit is a tool for cutting small biopsies from the uterus using an electric loop at the end of a stick-like tool. The tool has a cutting function and a cauterizing function. The cauterizing function is used to stop bleeding that might occur during the biopsy.

On Monday morning, we met with the staff for an educational session that included two physicians and four nurses. Dr. Ransom explained the uses of the LEEP unit and then demonstrated how to use the cutting tool on raw chicken breasts.

Following the demonstration by Dr. Ransom, the two physicians practiced making cuts on the chicken breasts. One of the physicians was a general surgeon and the other was an OB/GYN, both of whom work at Sister Aklesia.

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