Chris Ingram, our Fishers Island doctor, will be serving another community from December 23 to January 17 with the citizenry of Cotonou in Benin, West Africa. It is his hope that he and his brother-in-law, Tamur Mueenuddin, best friends from medical school and subsequently in-laws (as things go), will attempt to employ strategies used in neighboring countries to help prepare Benin for a potential penetrance of Ebola onto their shores. To date there have been no reported cases.
Benin, as a poor country, has few resources. Nevertheless, it has the full panoply of issues to address like any other nation. Preparation for a “possible” outbreak has been trumped by current and actual necessities. Doctors Ingram and Mueenuddin conceived of this project to help fill this gap. In short, their first goal would be to rationalize and digitalize the health worker registry (currently a card catalog at best), and a strategy used in Liberia to excellent end. The second goal, utilizing the new functional data base including cell phone numbers of the health workers, would be to establish an early warning system for potential cases using SMS (texting), another new tool used increasingly in the international public health arena.
During Dr. Ingram’s absence the community of Fishers Island’s medical needs will be covered by Dr. Kim Hodges and Dr. Craig Mochsen. Both are board certified emergency medicine physicians from New York-Presbyterian Hospital and each has had the pleasure of covering for Dr. Ingram on the island previously.
Fishers wishes Chris much success in reaching the project goals in this opportunity to assist the citizens of Benin and welcomes Kim and Craig to the island.