Greenslopes Private Hospital surgeon returns from stint on Mercy Ship
Apr 04, 2022
Greenslopes Private Hospital has welcomed back urogynaecologist, Dr Jerome Melon, who has returned from time aboard a Mercy Ship in Africa as part of the first team of women’s health surgeons to return to field service after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Melon spent three weeks onboard ‘Africa Mercy’, at port in Dakar, Senegal in west Africa.
“Most of the surgeries I performed were aimed at repairing urogenital fistulas which had developed during childbirth, with many of the babies unfortunately not surviving,” Dr Melon said.
“The women had then been left with very debilitating symptoms including incontinence, and were often socially outcast by their communities because of it.
“Many told stories of travelling for 15-20 hours to join the ship.
“Unfortunately, the majority of these fistulas could have been prevented with access to modern obstetric care.”
Dr Melon says the experience helped shaped his career and he would do it again “in a heartbeat”.
“My desire to work repairing urogenital fistula in disadvantaged communities and countries shaped, in part, my decision to choose obstetrics and gynaecology for specialist training and further my desire to subspecialise in urogynaecology,” he said.
“It was an absolutely incredible experience and I would encourage anyone, no matter in what capacity, to consider volunteering if they are interested. The work is rewarding and wholesome, with a true sense of giving back to some of the most disadvantaged women in Africa, afflicted by troubling symptoms through no fault of their own.”
Dr Melon said “ship life” was a unique experience.
“Ship life, as they call it, is a very bonding experience with incredible and interesting colleagues from all around the world.”