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Mending Kids: Missions
Where in the World India is a country located in Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Home to the Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Agriculture is not only the dominant occupations of the people of India but is also one of the most important economic sectors for the country. Approximately 28.09% of the population are children between the ages of 0-14 years. Healthcare in India Twenty-eight percent of the population in India is made up of children. India spends only around 4.2% of its national GDP towards healthcare goods and services. Additionally, there are wide gaps between the rural and urban populations in its healthcare system which worsen the problem. A staggering 70% of the population still lives in rural areas and has no or limited access to hospitals and clinics. Consequently, the rural population mostly relies on alternative medicine and government programs in rural health clinics. One such government program is the National Urban Health Mission which pays individuals for healthcare premiums, in partnership with various local private partners, which have proven ineffective to date. According to the World Bank and National Commission’s report on Macroeconomics, only 5% of the population is covered by health insurance policies. The Mission Mending Kids is hosting its inaugural mission to Salem, India, where the team will be performing free, life-changing and life-saving surgeries for children who otherwise have no access to the care that they need. Dr. Stuart Hosie, Chief Physician of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at the Schwabing Hospital in Germany, will be leading his surgical team in specialties of orthopedics, ENT, and general surgery. This mission is generously sponsored by Real Life Church in Santa Clarita, CA.Learn More
Where in the World The Republic of Guatemala is located in Central America and is one of the poorest countries in all of Latin America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Guatemala has a population of 15,824,463 people, 56.2% of which live below the national poverty line. 36% of the entire population are children below the age of 14. 40.5% of the population is made up by the indigenous community, facing harsh socioeconomic inequalities to this day. Healthcare in Guatemala Guatemala has some of the highest infant mortality rate and lowest life expectancies in the Central American region. Many Guatemalans lack access to healthcare services, as there are currently only 16,000 physicians for the entire population. The Children Our young patients come from all over Guatemala, some enduring long walks out of their mountain villages to reach roads in order to get rides into the capital and the Moore Pediatric Center. Current research has not yet confirmed why so many Guatemalan children have congenital birth defects, but suspicions lie in some genetic corn strains that block the absorption of folic acid. Unmet surgical care can contribute to the various diseases children die young from, and better perioperative care for those who are lucky enough to receive surgeries could improve the overall survival rate of these children. The Mission Our mission to Guatemala this April consists of our medical team from Duke University and UNC at Chapel Hill. Besides performing the free, life-changing surgeries for children in Guatemala, Dr. Henry Rice, Dr. Sherry Ross, and Dr. Obinna Adibe will provide training to local Guatemalan surgery residents on techniques in pediatric laparoscopic and urology surgeries. Dr. Brad Taicher will similarly provide training to local Guatemalan anesthesiology residents on proper anesthesia protocols and quality improvement systems. Unfortunately, hundreds of children in Guatemala lack access to proper, specialized care. We have begun to provide training platforms for local Guatemalan residents in order to ameliorate this issue and look forward to the progress of these efforts. Dr. Rice has gone above and beyond each year with adding access to equipment and training seminars. Last year he was granted a donation from Storz for laparoscopy equipment for the Moore Pediatric Surgical Center where we operate, and now other missions teams that travel there are able to use it as well. In 2015, he and his colleague, Dr. Adibe, brought together local and regional surgeons for a 3-day training seminar to train them on laparoscopic techniques. Dr. Ross, in addition, provided training on pediatric urological surgeries, as too many Guatemalan kids are without access to proper specialized care. She not only provides training for the local surgeons, but has also set up a mission-to-mission system to refer complex cases to future teams traveling to the surgical center. Besides the service missions to Guatemala, in October 2015 Mending Kids sponsored an observership with surgical residents from Guatemala (Dr. Gustavo Perez and Dr. Daniela Palencian) at Duke University. They observed surgical procedures for the entire month, learning from our surgeons’ and anesthesiologist’s standards of practice and patient bedside manners. We know that this part of our work is an invaluable aspect of training and we hope to do more observerships with teams in the future. Publications and Presentations Gulack BC, Heydari S, Solis-Sanabria C, Figueroa L, Tew S, Madden-Fuentes R, Taicher BM, Ross SS, Boyd D, Hall-Clifford R, Rice HE. Ranking and rating analyses of barriers to surgical care for children in Guatemala. Pan American Journal of Public Health (Submitted). Tew S, Gulack BC, Hernandez Diaz EM, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Implementation of a simplified universal protocol in Guatemala. World Journal of Surgery (In preparation). Tew, S, Pecorella SRH, Taicher BM. Knowledge and Understanding of the Role of an Anesthesiologist in Guatemala. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2015. Pecorella SRH, Neifeld JL, Zucco SE, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. PONV Prophylaxis in a Resource Constrained Environment. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2015. Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Retrograde Light-Guided Laryngoscopy: A Useful Teaching Technique for Beginners. Duke Anesthesiology Academic Evening, 2014. Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. “Sombrero Azul:” Implementing the Universal Protocol in a Developing Country. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2014. Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Effectiveness and Validity of Subjective vs. Objective Pain Scoring on a Medical Mission to Guatemala. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2014. Nguyen K, Bhattacharya SD, Maloney MJ, Figueroa L, Taicher BM, Ross S, Rice HE. Self-reported barriers to pediatric surgical care in Guatemala. Sept 2013. The American Surgeon. Vol 79: 885-888.Learn More
Where in the World Panama is a country located in Central America. It is an isthmus bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, home to nearly half of the country's population. In 2005, approximately 29% of the population was under 15 years of age. The population included more than 417,000 Amerindians. Healthcare in Panama Healthcare in Panama is in the hands of two public entities: the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) and the Social Security System (Caja de Seguros Social). The latter runs the country’s public hospitals and clinics. One of the main issues with the Panamanian healthcare system is accessibility. While people living in Panama’s big cities usually have a choice of several hospitals and doctors, rural areas and the indigenous population suffer from a lack of access to good medical care. Often, only first-aid services are available, if at all. Unfortunately this also applies to the private sector. While modern, state-of-the-art medical facilities are available in Panama City, none can be found in smaller towns or in rural areas. Recommended private hospitals in Panama City include the Hospital Nacional, the Clinica Hospital San Fernando, and the Hospital Punta Pacifica. The Children Despite positive economic growth, there are large economic disparities in Panama: the gap between rich and poor is increasing. In 2008, 32% of the population lived below the poverty line. Many children and adolescents are directly affected by this lack of equality, especially children in the most far-flung rural regions and those of indigenous populations. Lack of access to quality health care offered to children in rural regions and among indigenous populations is concerning. Many children only have limited access to basic health care, and may not have any access to potable water and the most basic sanitation services. In addition, the infant mortality rate among indigenous populations is incredibly high (between 35-62%), partially due to a low rate of breastfeeding compared to the rest of the region. However, the new government in Panama has made it a national priority to change these statistics. The Mission Although pediatric cardiac surgery is available in public hospitals in Panama City, the country lacks the expertise in neonatal congenital heart repair, so babies have to reach certain threshold weights before they can be treated. At the request of the First Lady of Panama, Dońa Lorena Castillo, we are sending an inaugural neonatal cardiac surgical mission to Panama City, led by veteran Mending Kids surgeon, Dr. Salvatore (Sasha) Agati, to answer the call for help to begin training and mending the youngest patients.Learn More
Our Four Core Programs
Kids with complex cases are provided transportation and are aided by our partner hospitals in India, Israel & Canada.
Surgical teams and volunteers travel to developing countries to perform surgeries and build sustainable programs.
In the span of one day, there are up to 20 free surgeries performed by volunteer surgeons for American Kids.
Kids from outside the United States are flown here for complex surgeries and stay with volunteer host families.
Who We AreMending Kids provides life-changing surgical care to children worldwide. Over the years, thousands of children have received corrective, transformational surgeries that have given them a chance at longer, healthier and happier lives. Most of the surgeries we perform are to correct congenital heart defects, orthopedic abnormalities, severe scoliosis, and significant cranial facial deformities.
Words cannot express my feelings nor our thanks for all your help. You are all a blessings to our family. You are all in our hearts forever and we treasured the moment you are there for us in time of our difficulties. My heart feels with joy and happiness that there are kindhearted people like you who value life and a helping hand to those in need and a HUMAN ANGEL to Heinrick's life.- Heinrick's Mom, Philippines
My heart is so full of joy that l don't even know what to write anymore. God bless you, your team and all those that donate to make this possible.- Joshua's Dad, Nigeria
Thank you so much and Mending Kids, at large. May God bless you so much for giving my child hope and live a new life as other people.- Susan's Mom, Uganda