Partnership: Our Central Nervous System

Written by: Rachel McDonnell

We have had a busy week here in Santa Cruz on our fall Neurosurgery Mission Trip. The week began with a three-day intensive training in endoscopic skull-base neurosurgery.  This was followed by a second training course for a wide variety of medical personnel. Everyone from nurses to neurosurgeons received training on emergency neurocritical life support, or how to respond in the critical moments after a patient suffers a stroke, hemorrhage, head trauma, or other neurological event.

As a part of, and in addition to our training, we have also served patients who could otherwise not access these complex surgeries. Amidst all this work, we’ve also made time for many small moments that strengthen our partnerships and the spirit of solidarity in which we work.

Our partnerships begin on a personal level, doctor to doctor, and among staff members. We must know one another in order to support one another, and this week, we have grown in friendship and collegiality. Our veteran missioners have enjoyed reconnecting with their Bolivian partners with whom they have worked throughout many  years. Meanwhile the leadership teams of Solidarity Bridge and our counterpart in Bolivia, Fundación Puente de Solidaridad, have had important time to connect in person and work more closely to advance the planning of our programs.

We have also strengthened our relationships with hospitals across the city of Santa Cruz. Solidarity Bridge surgeries are only possible because we are graciously invited to participate in the work of the local medical community. This week we have met with our partners at four different hospitals throughout the city of Santa Cruz. We look forward to a new year of mission activities that will bring us closer to these partners in 2018.

Finally, we signed a new accord with the Health Ministry of the Department of Santa Cruz. This important agreement recognizes our mutual endeavor to improve the health and future of Bolivians in the region and ensures that our efforts build upon the strategic initiatives of the local government.

With immense gratitude—for the contributions of our partners, missioners, generous donors, and the providence of God—we finish our final mission trip of 2017.

Rachel McDonnell is the Director of Development and Communications at Solidarity Bridge. 

The Program for the Development of Neurosurgery is a partnership of Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard Moser and other top US neurosurgeons, we are raising the level of neurosurgery in Bolivia. Our mission teams have been the first to introduce several neurosurgical advancements in the country, while restoring quality of life to patients who had nowhere else to turn for treatment. Plans are also moving forward to form the first Epilepsy Center in Bolivia. Learn more about our Neurosurgery program.