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Volunteer providers and auxiliary staff arrived in Valsad throughout the day Friday, January 20 and overnight, with some meeting for the first time just prior to the group’s transit to Kasturba Hospital for an opening ceremony around noon on Saturday, January 21.

Once at Kasturba hospital, the team worked in unison to unpack roughly 20 bags and over 900 pounds of medical supplies and equipment in the mission’s temporary storeroom. Thanks to months of fastidious organization and an unprecedented level of planning, the process was complete in record time. OpMed personnel will continue the use of brown shopping bags and labels for future trips to keep the supplies neat and intuitively navigable.

Kasturba Hospital CEO Paritosh Joshi kicked off the 2017 Kasturba Hospital clinic in an opening ceremony featuring a traditional Hindu lamp-lighting ritual and remarks from both Kiran Desai, Vice President of Kasturba Trust Board and Mr. KR Sheker, managing director of Bayer in India. Bayer is supporting this week’s activities with a generous donation of 3.6 million Indian Rupee (roughly $45,000). Operation Medical’s president Dr. Mukul Parikh dedicated the week’s activities to the memory of the organization’s president-elect Diane U. Davidson, who tragically lost her life in an accident in December 2016.

OpMed surgeons made rounds on patients who had been pre-screened and admitted in preparation for Sunday’s procedures. Many of the surgeons also conducted pre-screen clinic Saturday afternoon for additional cases to add to the week’s schedule.

At about 5:00pm local time (after as much as 40 continuous hours of travel and on-site preparations for some volunteers), the OpMed team headed to Daman, the location for the week’s lodging in order to unpack, gather for a brief dinner and enjoy some well-earned rest.

The first surgical procedures are slated to begin Sunday, January 22. OpMed’s volunteers are grateful for continued readership, comments and other support from around the world this week and look forward to sharing more experiences from Valsad in the days ahead.

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