This year’s joint trip to Bhutan during April to May 2016 with Interplast Australia and New Zealand was both hard work, rewarding and fun!

Our team leader was Dr Tim Proudman who was as always enthusiastic and supportive and we had a new team member this year Dr Anthony McDonald (Hand Surgeon) from Geelong, Victoria.

We saw 100 patients in our hand therapy clinic in Thimphu, the Capital. There were many small children with burns and fractures and some unusual congenital anomalies. There were also a lot of adults with wrist fractures, tendon and nerve injuries and some amputations from farming accidents. We completed all the rehabilitation following the complex reconstructive hand surgery cases. Tshering Dorji, local hand therapist runs the clinic and worked tirelessly on our visit. He was joined by a team of colleagues from the District regions who came to learn and assist. We undertook lots of 'hands-on' teaching and some formal teaching.

In addition, Suzanne had the opportunity to give some lectures to the training Intern Doctors at Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan who really are at the coal face and will be providing immediate primary care to people in the districts who sustain hand and arm injuries.

Our fundraising via Southern Adelaide Health Institute Inc – Bhutan Fund allowed us to provide an enormous amount of greatly needed splints and therapy equipment, which is unavailable in Bhutan. We are also ordering some custom made pressure garments for 2 of our severe burns patients. Second Skin from Perth have kindly given us these garments at cost price, for which we are grateful.

This year we were able to meet the Minister of Health, Dasho Tandin Wangchuk who came to the ward and spoke with our patients. He was very supportive of our work and grateful for our help and teaching. We had a fun dinner with the Rotary Club of Thimphu who are an amazing group of generous people and very supportive of our work.

Megan Fitzgerald and Suzanne were able to join in with local Archery Competition as cheer leaders, Bhutanese Style! The Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay who shot two bullseyes was a sharp shooter!

Once again, thank you to all of you who donate regularly to our Bhutan Fund and allow us to continue 'Helping Hands in Bhutan'.

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