Another day at Yekatit 12 for cleft palate training.  We had another wonderful class/lecture in the morning featuring interactive role-playing between TC students and the rest of the class.  The TC students role-played as patients while the other students acted as clinicians.  Each “patient” was assigned specific cleft palate speech characteristics, and was instructed how to respond to treatment.  This exercise proved extremely helpful, and we all felt more confident and competent when working with our patients later that afternoon.

After lunch, a few of us were lucky enough to observe a cleft palate repair on a 19-year-old patient with a “syndromic cleft palate,” as described by the surgeon.  It was fascinating to see a repair up close, as well as the musculature that we’ve learned about but not physically seen.  The patient we observed was quite unique, as the patient’s small oral cavity caused the levator veli palatini muscle to insert into the nasal septum.  Throughout the surgery, the surgeon explained the steps he was taking in the repair, directing our awareness to the presentation of the patient (oral care, jaw shape, etc.)

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Prepped for surgery

When we got back to the hotel, we met (along with cake and cookies) to watch the movie “Making the Crooked Straight,” a documentary that follows Dr. Rick Hodes, a man who provides medical care all over Ethiopia.  He provides free medication and raises surgery funds for patients with tuberculosis of the spine and other illnesses (or arranges for them to have surgeries in other countries).  Dr. Hodes and his work is truly inspiring, and if all goes as planned, we may be meeting him for dinner on Wednesday!

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Documentary screening party!

Finally, we ended the evening with a birthday celebration for our fantastic filmmaker/photographer Josh Hayes (happy birthday, Josh!).  It was a nice way to close a full day of training, clinical work, and cultural enrichment.

-Michael and Georgia