In collaboration with the African Bible College Community Clinic, ConnectMed International is proud to announce their Malawi Multidisciplinary Outreach. On February 15th, 2013 ConnectMed International led by Dr. Amanda Gosman (UCSD) and Dr. Rohit Khosla (Stanford) departed with 14 team members from all over the USA destined for Lilongwe, Malawi in eastern Africa. CMI, in partnership with the ABC Community Clinic provided life changing surgeries benefiting children and young adults in need of cleft lip and palate surgery. Patients traveled from all over the country of Malawi hoping for what they thought was impossible; to look normal.
Two surgeons, operating in tandem, supported by our operating room nurses, anesthesiologists, anesthesia technical support and local Dr’s and nurses who jumped at the chance to work alongside our team. Surgery completed, patients were moved to the PACU where nurses helped them through the recovery process. It was during this phase where the children were seen by family members for the first time prior to surgery. Smiles and tears of joy were in abundance.
Meet Grace, a young girl from the village of Gusu in need of a cleft lip repair. On February 19th at 8:30am she became our first patient to benefit from surgery. A surgery that she and her family thought would never be possible. It was so special to see the reaction of Grace’s father when he gazed on his little girl for the first time post-surgery. In the coming days Grace started to show us something we had not seen before – a smile! We also were able to visit Grace and her family at her village. Her mother and sisters were just as excited to see her new smile.
Read more about Grace and her family here.
Part of the ConnectMed Mission Statement is a commitment to provide education and learning in the U.S. as well as with our partner’s abroad. Many CMI team members are also educators. Representing UCSD, Stanford University, and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, they took a brief pause from surgery to give presentations to physicians and health care professionals in and around Lilongwe. Lectures on a wide range of topics including speech therapy, anesthesia, operative care and dental were well received. Collaborative learning between our multidisciplinary specialists and the health care professionals in Malawi will continue to develop in the coming years.
Follow Up Care
As in any developing country, many babies and children were not eligible for surgery due to sickness or malnutrition. Nutritional guidance for mothers who had trouble nursing their babies were given special bottles and classes in feeding techniques so that they will be stable for surgery on our return visit. ConnectMed is committed to follow-up care. Our CMI Director stayed behind a few days to work on our return journey, tentatively on the calendar for August of 2014. Children who were not deemed surgical candidates on this trip, lip revisions and follow-up palate surgeries will be our next course of care in this country so very much in need of speciality surgical care.With your continued support we will be able to continue helping the children of Malawi that are in desperate need. ConnectMed has been approached about the possibility of working in Southern India and additional countries in Africa as well. The need is great.