Incline Rotary clubs receive humanitarian grant | SierraSun.com

Incline Rotary clubs receive humanitarian grant

Wend Schaefer
Special to the Bonanza

On Sept. 25, The Rotary Club of Incline Village presented a check for $1,000 to the Rotary Club of Tahoe Incline to complete the funding of a $25,000 grant from District 5190 of Rotary International for orthopedic instruments.

The grant funded a SIGN system for placing rods with in long bone fractures to stabilize the fractures at Kagondo St. Joseph Hospital in northwest Tanzania in East Africa.

At present, the hospital does not have an effective way to fix fractures of long bones, such as the thigh bone. These fractures are currently treated in traction for three to four months, and though some of these fractures heal, they often heal with unacceptable shortening and angulation.

Trauma, mostly from motor vehicles (MVA), is the leading cause of death in patients under 40 years of age in developing countries.

MVAs now kill more than 1.3 million people per year worldwide, the vast majority occurring in developing nations.

Highway building in developing nations is proceeding at a rapid pace, but often proper safety measures are not taken to prevent accidents and protect pedestrians. The very dangerous motorcycle taxis account for many accidents and deaths.

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Victims are mainly boys and working age men who are the key breadwinners of families.

Death or long periods of hospitalization frequently will leave these families destitute. Injuries and deaths from MVAs are often referred to as the "neglected epidemic of the 21st century."

Further funding of the grant was provided by the Rotary clubs of Stateline, Nev., Anthem, Ariz., and many individual Rotarians and orthopedic surgeons.

The SIGN set contains over 100 intramedullary nails and over 300 transfixing screws and will be transported to Tanzania in late October by a medical team headed by a local Rotarian.

Wend Schaefer, MD, is a member of the Rotary Club of Tahoe Incline.