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  • Writer's pictureGlobal Partners in Hope

A New Era of Healthcare in Rural Togo: A Milestone Achieved

Updated: Jun 2

Katie Andersen, Dr. Coleen Stice, and Georgia Wimmer stand next to Koffi Esaw, President of NGO Compassion
Katie Andersen (left), Dr. Coleen Stice (middle right), and Georgia Wimmer (right) visit Koffi Esaw (middle left), President of NGO Compassion

In April we at GPiH, alongside our in-country partner, NGO Compassion, celebrated a significant milestone at the healthcare facility in Agbelouve, Togo. Under the leadership of Dr. Coleen Stice, a retired plastic surgeon and GPiH board member, the team, which included surgical assistants Katie Andersen and Georgia Wimmer, trained and supervised the local Togolese medical staff as they conducted the first-ever surgical procedure at the Togo health center.

This pivotal operation, an abdominal defect repair, was performed with the support of Dr. Richard Simlawo (pictured below in the center), a renowned Togolese general vascular surgeon. The support and involvement of Togolese medical professionals like Dr. Simlawo are crucial to the success and sustainability of these healthcare advancements. Dr. Stice remarked, "The work we did at the clinic, teaching the staff sterile technique and standard operating room procedures, will have a profound impact on the people of the surrounding community and country as a whole."

Dr. Coleen Stice, Georgia Wimmer, and Katie Andersen pose with four Togolese surgeons after the first-ever procedure in the Togo Health Center
Togolese Surgeons performing the first-ever procedure in the Togo health center

This milestone procedure was part of a broader mission to transform healthcare in rural Togo. The team's efforts included comprehensive training for the local medical staff, building on the foundation laid by Dr. Stice and her team in June.

The training incorporated instructional videos created by Iowa Western Community College, which condensed years of education into a concise format. These videos, along with hands-on guidance, equipped the Togo health center staff with essential skills for operating in a procedure room. "Togo, a place without the same privilege (access to healthcare) but with the same medical need, has found ways around that through their hard work and passion of their healthcare workers," noted Georgia Wimmer.

Dr. Stice in front of a computer explaining to five Togolese individuals, two of which are part of the Togo health staff
Dr. Stice consulting with the Togolese at the Agbelouve health center

The enthusiastic reception and rapid learning of the Togolese staff signal a brighter future for healthcare in the region. As Dr. Stice optimistically stated, "When the new operating room building is complete we will be ready to create a completely new paradigm of care."

This initiative promises to set a new standard for medical care in rural Togo, ensuring accessible, high-quality healthcare services for the community.


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