Madagascar September 2017
Review on our humanitarian mission from 6.-17.09.2017
It were two fulfilling and at the same time exhausting weeks at the ‚Polyclinique Universitaire NEXT – Antsiranana‘ in Madagascar. Our Team consisted of the plastic surgeons PD Dr. Armin Kraus and Dr. Daniel Sattler, our general practitioner Dr. Lisa Gambhir and our anesthetist Dina von Rohrscheidt. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with a high percentage of illiteracy (30% of the population) and endemic contagious diseases like plague, cholera or leprosy. We come upon a solid built hospital in Antsiranana and are generously offered to check in the nursing dormitory on the pediatric ward. The project was set up by the italian, Luigi Bellini, in cooperation with the cathletic church in 1998. For the next 11 days we find ourselves in the solitude of madagascan island beyond reach of our accustomed civilization. Boon and bane at the same time. Our mission is dedicated to madagascan population with congenital deformities, burn sequelae, soft tissue tumors, soft tissue defects and hand diseases. The three madagascan colleagues make us feel warmly welcome and introduce us quickly to the surgical challenge at ‚Polyclinique Universitaire NEXT – Antsiranana‘. Our Interplast-Germany traumatologist, Dr. Thomas Vasters, collected plastic surgery cases 4months in advance which we start to see in the the early afternoon on the day of our arrival. Patients are burn victims who suffer from large burn scars and contractures – one with an indication for an oral sphincter widening and a upper lip reconstruction. Children with lip-cleft-palate deformities with indications for bucco-maxillo-facial surgery. We have the opportunity to experience an ethnicity who is used to live for years with huge deformities without having an option to change things. During the oncoming days we are ‚set on fire‘ to give our best in two operating theatres and help our patient out of their misery. We are constantly supported by the gratitude of both patients and hospital staff. A 17 year old introduced a tremendous mid face tumor of his right sinus maxillaris. We manage to extirpate the teratoma and reconstruct the ventral aspect of the maxillary sinus withe a temporals flap and an extended forehead flap. Every day we cover soft tissue defects by myocutaneous muscle flaps. At the end of the second week we look back on many successfully operated patients and hand over to our madagascan colleagues and Dr. Thomas Vasters to manage the aftercare. Via Dr. Thomas Vasters the checkup documentation reaches us back home in Germany. The sustainability of the ‚Polyclinique Universitaire NEXT – Antsiranana‘-Project has to be continued and we are grateful to be part of it in the future.
We will be back!