YNET wrote about one of our partner organization’s relief efforts in the Philippines. Click here to check out what the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) did to help!
An article in The Canadian Jewish News discussed Ve’ahavta’s and other Canadian Jewish non-profits’ fundraising efforts for the Philippines.
Read more here…
POSITION: Assistant to Controller and Administration
TYPE: Full-time, Permanent
REPORTS TO: Controller and Senior Director of Development
To be responsible for the day to day operations in the accounting department such as donations, accounts payable, process payroll, deposits, banking, petty cash and produce tax receipts. Process bank reconciliations, assist with year end audits, produce various report such as Artez, Paypal to accurately reflect donations from different sources. Also, assist with administrative and human resources duties as required and act as a telephone relief as needed.
- Full cycle of accounts payable
- Full cycle of accounts receivables (Donations)
- Month end journal entries and Income Manager entries
- Payroll officer – processs payroll every two weeks
- Assisting year end audits
- Banking in person, by phone and online
- Petty cash, cash disbursement and replenishment
- To record revenue in Income Manager and Quickbooks
2. Produce and Process
- Full cycle of tax receipts on a monthly basis
- Bank reconciliation on a monthly basis
- Payroll every two weeks – Ceridian
- Month end reports – Artez, Paypal, Iats and bank statements
- Reports to International department as requested
- Data entry in large volume of donations for Income Manager and Quickbooks
- Invoices as requested
- Donations by credit, debit cards and online
- Training, supervision and hiring volunteers for the accounting department and the office
- Proper codes for donations, Income Manager and Quickbooks
- Supplying and ordering office/equipment supplies
- All office equipment runs smoothly – maintenance
4. Administrative, Human Resources Assistant Duties:
- Benefit and record keeping for sick/vacation for the staff
- Record keeping for changes in payroll
- Producing letter to donors – non-sufficient funds, incorrect payee, etc.
- Maintaining electronic communication with staff, suppliers and donors
- Telephone relief
- Produce In Memory and In Honor cards and e-cards
- Problem solving with office issues
Resumes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The first baby born at the Israeli Defense Forces field hospital in the Philippines was delivered safely on Friday. The mother named the boy Israel. Read the full story from JPost at the link below:
First baby born in IDF field hospital in Philippines named Israel
Now recruiting a Fundraising/Administrative volunteer!
Accounting and Fundraising Administrator
Short-term. Part-time. Flex hours
Start date: Immediately 2013.
End date: February 2014.
10 hours/week in-office. (Days/hours can be determined according to mutual convenience).
Description: An opportunity for a productive and meaningful work experience. Learn about the “behind-the-scenes” action of a vibrant non-profit organization through database management and donor communications. The role of the volunteer will be to support general accounting and fundraising department activities which will include numerical data entry, information consolidation and phone calls to donors to update their records.
Skills required: Strong database expertise. (Training provided for Income Manager software). Knowledge of Microsoft Office an asset. Individual must be highly focused with strong attention to detail. Pleasant manner and good communication skills for telephone and office interaction.
Application Deadline: Friday, October 18, 2013
Ve’ahavta is an equal opportunity employer. All eligible applicants welcome.
E-mail resume and cover letter to: email@example.com
A Jewish humanitarian association plans to send several mental health experts to Seven First Nations communities in northwestern Ontario to help. The move is part of Ve’ahavta’s first Canadian project. The organization has previously advised health care workers in Guyana and Kenya. Read more…
Move out day. After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, Izzy, Zvi, Rob and Dani left for the hospital for a final review of the patients. There they met with Dr. Deo and Dr. Joeseph and as a team changed all the dressings, pulled all the catheters, and provided last minute therapy and discharge instructions. At the hospital, Rob immediately began retrieving our equipment from storage and loading it with Mr. Metu and his team onto the delivery truck. When all packed, the four made their way back to the hotel to meet up with Sherri and Jen. The six of us then loaded our luggage onto the truck and started the nearly eight hour drive back to Entebbe.
Along the way, we stopped at Lake Mboro National Game Reserve. We spent over two hours driving though the park, taking photos of zebras, warthogs, monkeys, and other indigenous wildlife. It was our first and only tourist experience inside Uganda!
Zebras at the Lake Mboro National Park
We made it to Entebbe eight hours later with numb bottoms and empty stomachs. In our usual fashion, we discussed the lessons of the day over dinner at the hotel.
With the long drive back to Entebbe to reflect on my experience on the Mission, I realized I had witnessed some of the best leadership and team building skills I have seen yet. Dr. Lieberman is as natural a leader as they come, and from watching him and his surgical team over the past week, I recognized the skills that make an effective team leader: expertise that commands respect; teaching methods that drive pupils to want to know more; organizational skills and the ability to coordinate a network of moving parts; setting an example of patience and perseverance in the face of challenges and setbacks; encouraging team members to reflect on their own learning and their roles within the team; and finally, the acuity to select members of team that have their own expert skill sets and personality types that mesh together naturally. That was one of the most valuable and translatable lessons I learned during my two weeks with the Uganda Spine Surgery Mission.
So that’s it! Time to sign off. Tomorrow the team flies back to London and then on to our respective home cities. It was a privilege to be part of the 2013 Spine Surgery Mission, and I look forward to hearing about all the successes of the 2014 trip!
Quotes of the day:
“We still have a wottle of bine”
“Six numb bums”
We couldn’t believe it was already Saturday. Our last day in the operating room had crept up on us so quickly. We had only one surgery scheduled for today, however if had the potential to be a substantial case. 16 year-old Sheila has spastic cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder caused by injury to the brain in the perinatal period leaving her non-communicative and non-ambulatory. As a result, her body is tightly curled into the fetal position due to the imbalance between her flexor and extensor muscles. Because of this muscle imbalance, her spine has developed a severe deformity making it near impossible for her mother to provide care and personal hygiene, and rendering her unable to sit up even with a brace or some form of support. Sheila’s mother carries her daughter draped over her arms. The girl is grotesquely undernourished, a clear sign that feeding her is difficult. Finally, Sheila is in constant pain as manifest by her heartbreaking wail.
While Sheila will never regain the use of her muscles, nor will she ever walk, Dr. Lieberman could still use metal screws and wires to reduce the curve in her spine and to allow her to sit upright. This would tremendously reduce her mother’s burden as caregiver. It might also even help with some of Sheila’s pain.
Our morning got off to a good start; we were even ahead of schedule… until Zvi jinxed us by commenting on just that. Within five minutes the entire hospital lost power, delaying our start time. Power returned to the operating theatres within half an hour but the rest of the hospital was still in the dark. The head nurse of the surgical ward even borrowed an outlet in our operating room to boil eggs for her lunch.
Our operating theatre in Mbarara doubled as a kitchen while power was lost throughout the hospital
Sheila’s operation took almost 5 hours. As Dr. Lieberman revealed the spinous processes of Sheila’s spine (the parts the form the bumps under your skin), he made an unfortunate discovery. Because she is unable to weight-bear and likely deficient in vitamin D, Sheila’s bone was frighteningly soft. So soft in fact, that each time Dr. Lieberman threaded a wire underneath the vertebral lamina, he feared the bony protrusion would simply break off. Worse yet, it wasn’t clear that her soft bone could withstand the pressure of the metal wires even after she had healed. Past the point of no return, Dr. Lieberman finished the surgery and Sheila was sent to the ICU.
Sheila’s case exemplified some of the ethical dilemmas in surgery, and so our lesson of the day revolved around her. Unlike our other cases from this week, Sheila’s operation was not expected to provide significant symptomatic relief. She will never walk or be capable of transporting herself, she will never speak and she will always have pain from muscle spasms. This is the reality of cerebral palsy. When I asked Dr. Lieberman what the goal of surgery was, he explained that sometimes you have to adopt a perspective that includes the suffering of the patient’s family. In Sheila’s case, her mother was unable to properly care for her in her current state. Perhaps a straighter spine would allow Sheila to prop herself up and eat, thus improving both her and her mother’s quality of life. That said, would Dr. Lieberman have proceeded with the surgery had he known about her abysmal bone density? “Absolutely not,” he replied. The problem is that it would have been near impossible to predict that her bone was soft prior to surgery; a bone density scan for every 16-year old surgical candidate would not be feasible, and is not even available in Uganda. And so, the result is that sometimes a surgeon must put in his last suture wondering if he actually did much good for a patient.
Having just completed our last surgery, the team packed up the operating room and stored our equipment for pick-up the next day. After rounding on some of our patients, we left the hospital for our final dinner in Mbarara. We were joined by Dr. Joseph, a surgical trainee at the hospital, and by our trusted middle man, Metu, who takes care of all the shipping and receiving for the mission. Back at the hotel later that evening, the team sat with a bottle of wine and some beers and reflected on a very productive and rewarding week. We shuffled off to bed, each one wishing this had not been our last operating day.
Quote of the day:
“The private ward: where you are less likely to get TB because there are walls between you and your neighbour.”
After a surprisingly smooth day yesterday, we had a few curveballs thrown our way today (lest we should get too spoiled with things going as planned!) Our first patient today was Catherine, a 14 year-old girl with a large thoracic kyphosis (an over-pronounced curve in her upper back). Catherine’s condition was consistent with Scheurmann’s disease, a pathology of abnormal bone growth causing wedge-shaped vertebra that exaggerate the normal thoracic kyphosis. With her deformity, Catherine found it painful to carry baskets of food on her head as is common practice here. Dr. Lieberman’s plan was to straighten Catherine’s curve with metal rods anchored to the spine with vertebral screws. There were several power outages throughout the surgery, during which Dr. Lieberman could not use his ultrasonic bone cutter. Nevertheless, he adapted the procedure to the tools that he had until power returned. He would not be derailed by a simple power loss!
Our determination to get through the day unscathed met another challenge that afternoon. The autoclave (the machine that sterilizes our equipment between surgeries) failed during its cycle, leaving us potentially still contaminated equipment for the operation. Our second patient, Aguma, who had two level spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal with compression of the nerves) lay prepped and sleeping on the operating table while Dr. Lieberman, Rob and Sherri brainstormed alternatives. They decided to rerun the sterilization (a 45-minute cycle) while in the meantime proceeding with the operation using alternative tools. Rob scoured the hospital’s sterilized equipment room for substitutes while Sherri went through some of our own tool sets set aside for other procedures. With some creative ingenuity the decompression surgery (laminotomies and foraminotomies) got underway, and 60 minutes into the operation we received our freshly-sterilized equipment.
That evening, the hospital and university invited us to a buffet dinner at the Agip Motel. Those in attendance included the surgical team from the hospital, the university and hospital accountants, and two of the vice deans from the Faculty of Medicine. After the meal, each of our hosts in turn spoke of their gratitude to Dr. Lieberman and his team. They expressed their hope that the continued presence of the mission would allow them to build competence and expertise in spine surgeries, ultimately establishing Mbarara as the pinnacle spine surgery center of East Africa. After a week of hard work in the operating room, the team was moved to see the appreciation and long-term vision of our host institution. After all, we weren’t simply there to operate on ten patients and call it a week. The mission was established to provide spine care to the less fortunate and train those who serve these patients. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Dinner with hospital and university faculty and staff
After dinner, the team gathered in our hotel lobby and discussed the lessons of the day over a bottle of wine. Today taught us that surgery can be seen as a series of small failures that simply require some creativity and perseverance to overcome. Back home in the US and Canada, the autoclave failure would have resulted in a canceled surgery. But here in Uganda, with limited time and even more limited resources, we could not afford to delay the operation. Dr. Lieberman, Rob and Sherri went back to basics in the absence of their standard operating procedures, highlighting the importance of fundamentals in medicine. We saw the challenges of the day—the power outages and the autoclave failure—as tests of what a co-ordinated and experienced surgical team could accomplish when forced to improvise.
Today’s first surgical patient doesn’t have a first name. At least, as far as his medical records at Mbarara are concerned, his first name is C. C is a sixty-five year-old man who is, for all intents and purposes, a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. Degenerative changes in his cervical spine (the part in his neck) have compressed and damaged the spinal cord at that level, leaving him with paralysis in his legs, a loss of bowel and bladder function, minimal function in his right hand and none in his left that has progressed over three months. Given this clinical picture, I was certainly caught off guard when, while lying flaccid on the operating table awaiting his anesthetic, C asked me whether the operation would allow him to walk again. I passed the question on to Dr. Lieberman anticipating an apologetic response and was astonished to hear that indeed, Dr. Lieberman hoped the operation would accomplish just that.
Similar to Prudence’s operation, Dr. Lieberman approached C’s vertebral column through the side of his neck, navigating around some critical anatomy. He handed me a retractor he was using to push aside a vessel and asked, “What are you holding right now?” “The common carotid,” I replied, referring to the main artery carrying blood to the head. “Correct,” he said, “if you slip, the patient will have a stroke.” Needless to say my hand cramped up a bit while standing there. Unlike most of the operations so far, C’s progressed without any surprises from our hosts (finally, no power outages!) and before we knew his decompression (making more room for the spinal cord) and reconstruction (rebuilding and fusining the bones together) was complete. We were very soon ready for our second patient Ida, who was being walked (yes, walked!) into the OR for her surgery that afternoon.
Ida chose to walk (with some help) to the operating room prior to her surgery
Ida was not a new patient. Dr. Lieberman had operated on her cervical spine (the part in her neck) last year. She now returned with pain, weakness and tingling in her legs caused by spinal stenosis (when the spinal canal is narrowed and compresses the nerves in the cord). Last week, Ida had walked into our clinic slowly and with an unsteady gait, supported by her son who has since not left her side at the hospital for more than 20 minutes to stretch his legs. She wore a kind expression on her face that day that, along with her son’s iconic NY Yankees baseball cap, have made lasting impressions on us. Now, as Ida was assisted onto the surgical bed, I thought about her son who was undoubtedly pacing outside the double doors to the surgical wing, sporting his distinctive cap.
During Ida’s surgery, Dr. Lieberman carved out space around the compressed portions of the spinal cord and secured screws and rods in place to stabilize the spine. The highlight of my week came next, when Dr. Lieberman allowed me to secure a few screws and to help suture the incision. It’s a small thing for a surgeon, but as a medical student it was the first time I would leave my physical mark on a patient. The fact that it was kind-faced Ida who would carry the scars of those stitch marks made it even more meaningful.
Ida, her son and niece in the private ward the day after her surgery
The following day, I went to visit Ida and her son in the private surgical wards. Aside from a bit of pain, she was in great shape. As her son walked me out to the corridor, we chatted about their experience throughout his mother’s care. They had tolerated the crowded mini bus system over the 300 kilometer trip from Kampala to see us in Mbarara, only to find themselves completely disoriented and without instruction upon arrival at the hospital. Once admitted (to the private ward, no less), they had to provide their own food, bathing basin and other essentials. There were showers for those in the private ward, but no accommodations for a bed-ridden spine surgery patient. After speaking with Ida’s son, it was clear to me that in Mbarara and perhaps Uganda at large, a patient must be his or her own advocate. Without a middle man to coordinate between patient and doctor, the patient’s own initiative determines the outcome of his or her care. In fact, when it was time for Ida’s surgery, no nurse came to retrieve her. Exasperated, her son walked his mother to the surgical ward and received her stretcher after the operation was complete. The lesson of the day was embedded here: As part of the surgical team, I had a narrow view of our patient’s experience; as far as I knew, she had showed up to our clinic, arrived at the hospital for admission several days prior to surgery, and had made her way to the operating table just as was meant to be. But in between those encounters, Ida and her son had fought to get attention from uninterested nurses and administrators and had navigated a non-intuitive system in their efforts to seek optimal health care.