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Develop Sierra Leone's 1st Plastic Surgery and Burn Center

ID:
4781
  • Project details
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Our goal
Establish self-sustaining Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burn Center in Sierra Leone
The Challenge

Child after cleft lip repair

Surg+Restore, in partnership with ReSurge Africa, will facilitate and fund training of two plastic surgeons and two anesthesiologists to support Sierra Leone's first Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burn Center. Annual medical missions during the four years of the project will provide reconstructive plastic surgery to the people of Sierra Leone, and will monitor the progress of the four residents training to be specialist in these services. Sierra Leone has absolutely zero (0) physician specialty training programs. In this project, Africa-based trainers are training Africa-based physicians. The project has the participation of the government, with the goal of building local permanent capacity within 10 years.

Same child before cleft lip repair surgery

Medical missions have performed surgery on 1073 patients since trips began in 2009 (with a two-year break during th Ebola crisis). Both male and female patients are served. Patients are as young as 10 months old, and there's no upper age limit. Patients are welcome from all parts of the country and many undergo six to 12-hour bus journeys to present to our clinic. When the Center is fully established, it is expected to serve 400-600 patients each year.

Tropical leg ulcer. The most common repair performed by Surg+Restore and ReSurge Africa medical teams.

Sierra Leone is still suffering the devastation from an 11-year civil war that ended in 2003.  The country suffered a near total destruction of its infrastructure and education system. Basic access to routine medical care is largely absent for the country’s working poor and the literacy rate hovers around 30%.  Although its position has improved in the last couple of years, the country is still one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, and it one of four countries with the highest death rate of newborn babies in the first 24 hours.

Out of 187 countries on the World Developmental Index, Sierra Leone has ranked between 180 and 186 during the past several decades. The life expectancy for males is 48 years, and 174 out of 1000 children die before the age of five years old. It is estimated that worldwide, the incidence of surgical need for the population approaches 5%. Sierra Leone has a population of nearly seven million. Therefore, well over 300,000 people would be potential surgical candidates each year. A recent scientific publication estimated that nearly 25% of the population is in need of some kind of surgery (nearly 150,000 people). Currently less than 2000 surgeries are performed annually in the entire country. THE ENTIRE NATION HAS FEWER THAN 200 MEDICAL DOCTORS AND 20 SURGEONS. MOREOVER, THERE ARE ABSOLUTEY ZERO (0) RESIDENCY TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR ANY SPECIALTY. In Sierra Leone's major teaching hospital in its capital city of Freetown, 1/4 of the surgeons died from Ebola and the same epidemic claimed the life of the Dean of the medical school. The Ebola epidemic took between 5000-6000 lives in a two-year period.  MANY, MANY MORE PEOPLE DIE EVERY YEAR IN SIERRA LEONE FROM UNMET SURGICAL NEEDS THAN DIED FROM EBOLA.

Medical team from Surg+Restore and ReSurge Africa works with Sierra Leone physicians.

The total project budget to train two anesthesiologists and conduct annual medical missions is $116,382 over four years, $57,600 of which is being contributed by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health. Surg+Restore has pledged annual funding of $14,696.  Private donations are essential to fulfill Surg+Restore's commitment to train physicians for less than $1500 USD a month. The $1200 requested will be used to register two Sierra Leone physicians for anesthesiology residencies.