This year’s joint trip in April 2009 with 'Helping Hands in Bhutan' (our in-house charity program) has now been visiting Bhutan for 10 years! Interplast Australia and New Zealand combined an intensive program of hand surgery, therapy and education sessions, which was split between 2 cities; Thimphu and Mongar.

Half the team flew to Bumthang and drove to the Mongar Eastern Regional Referral Hospital to undertake a surgical clinic. Megan Fitzgerald (Hand Therapist) provided allied health mentoring program and oversaw the refurbishment of the Mongar Hand Therapy Clinic. Thank you again for all of the kind donations that facilitated this $5,000 makeover, including a new computer.

The other the half of the team worked in the capital, Thimphu, screening at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). We saw more than 100 patients in our hand therapy clinic in Thimphu. The conditions seen were diverse and complex, ranging from children with congenital anomalies to adults with wild animal attacks (bears and boars). The therapy team completed all the rehabilitation following the complex reconstructive hand surgery cases.

During the Interplast visit 7 physiotherapists and physiotherapy technicians from regional areas across Bhutan attended an education and mentoring program. This occurred via observation, mentoring, supervised practice and formal and informal education.

Darcy O'Neil (Hand Therapist) provided formal lectures on elbow anatomy and assessment, management of common elbow conditions and contractures. Darcy also provided training in the clinic, which allowed trainees to participate in supervised wound care, assessment, and treatment.

Darcy attended a meeting with the Health Minister and Dr Tim Proudman to discuss the ongoing training of a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and hand therapists. The Health Minister expressed interest in exploring online based hand therapy education options.

Our fund raising via Southern Adelaide Health Institute Inc – Bhutan Fund allowed us to provide an enormous amount of greatly needed splints and therapy equipment, which is not available in Bhutan.

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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