VICENZA, Italy - The U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) Command Surgeon directorate was honored to have according to some as one of the most experienced surgeons in the world come visit Caserma Ederle, Aug. 10, to discuss an ongoing joint project between USARAF, Vicenza Hospital and Africa.
Dr. Franco Favretti, chief of surgery at Vicenza Hospital, presented different possibilities for an ongoing project in Africa. His main ideas included providing infrastructure, developing institutionalized programs, promoting sustainable efforts that strengthen African health care capacity and preparing medical professionals on the continent by fostering and strengthening a network of continuing education and mentoring programs.
“We are willing to share our experience from Iringa [Tanzania, Africa] with [USARAF’s] military command and offer an opportunity to see if there are conditions to replicate in other areas, as appropriate,” Favretti said. “We are here today to start exploring the possibilities -- I trust there are many opportunities ahead of us if we work together.”
Col. Mark A. McGrail, USARAF command surgeon, said the importance of Favretti’s visit demonstrates USARAF’s willingness and desire to cooperate with civilian colleagues to further the command’s medical efforts in Africa.
“Many of the civilian organizations have been there for decades and there is much we both can learn from each other regarding healthcare on the continent,” said McGrail.
During the meeting, Favretti, who was joined by his colleagues Dr. Oscar Banzato and Dr. Gianni Segato, shared his surgical experiences in Africa, and stated that assisting partners in Africa by training them and maintaining an infrastructure would be essential to achieving long-term results.
McGrail said Favrett and his team show that the command has expertise on African healthcare right here in USARAF’s backyard.
Some of Favretti’s ideas involved joint training for selected American and Italian medical staff, a hospital-partnership project and an exchange program for African health care providers.
Anna Ciccotti, the public relations specialist for the garrison command group, gave high praise to Favretti and his team, saying that working in Africa is a lifelong commitment to them.
“For them, being a surgeon in Africa is a passion,” said Ciccotti.
For Favretti, his passion for his work comes from what he calls “human solidarity.”
“What is important is that you get more than what you give,” said the 63-year-old surgeon when referring to the experience he receives from meeting different people and learning new ways to do medical procedures.
By the end of the meeting, everyone in the room was impressed with Favretti’s experience and enthusiasm for the project. McGrail led the way offering the visiting surgeon positive feedback.
“The medical community in Vicenza and the Veneto Region have a wealth of knowledge and passion regarding the delivery of medical services in Africa, and we hope that a strong relationship between USARAF and our Italian colleagues will be mutually beneficial toward improving the capacity for quality healthcare in Africa,” said McGrail.