Mending Kids: Missions
Where in the World China is the world’s most populated country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. China houses people of 56 different ethnic groups. About 17% of the population are children under the age of 14 years. Luoyang is located in Central China and is one of the four great ancient capitals of China. It has a population of about 6,500,000 people, most living in urban settings. The city is famous for the Longmen Grottos and its cultivation of peonies. Healthcare in China China’s rapid economic growth has pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty since 1978. Currently, 10% of the population lives below the poverty line. As of 2011, 95% of China’s population has basic health insurance coverage and there have been many improvements in health. However, due to the country’s high population density, public health problems such as respiratory illnesses and serious infectious disease outbreaks are an ongoing issue. The Children Every year about 900,000 children are born with congenital anomalies in China. According to the Ministry of Health, the birth defect rate has increased by 70% from 1996 to 2010. With this increase in children being born with birth defects, there has also been an increase in the abandonment of these children. Many who survive live in orphanages. Anorectal malformations (ARMs) are one of the most common congenital anomalies seen, yet research does not yet know why. ARMs occur when a newborn’s anus and rectum (the lower end of the digestive tract) has not developed properly or is sometimes completely absent. Children with such malformations are far less likely to find adoptive families in China than other orphans. A child born with an imperforated anus is considered the worst curse on a family, one that carries on for generations. The Mission The Mending Kids mission to China is all about hope, love, and mending children’s lives under the leadership of Dr. Phil Frykman and Dr. Keith Kimble of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. This mission exemplifies our ongoing commitment to sustainability by partnering with local surgeons who are interested in learning both open and minimally invasive procedures to correct anorectal malformations (ARM). Since 2011, Mending Kids has transformed the lives of 50 orphans in Luoyang, China who otherwise would have remained unadoptable because of their congenital birth defect. All of the ARM children on our mission are orphans living in the care of Maria’s Big House of Hope. They all are living with colostomies performed emergently in the first few days of life to relieve the obstructed colon. Unfortunately, all of these ARM children have little to no hope of being adopted without the corrective surgeries we provide. However, with the success of our sustainable colorectal surgical program over the last 4 years, 50 orphans have received surgeries and 12 of them have been adopted into loving families with a chance at a healthy life! Progress From training one surgeon in a private operating room to now performing surgeries out of Luoyang First People's Hospital, we are giving half a dozen local pediatric surgeons the opportunity to participate and lead laparoscopic procedures to correct ARMs. This past year we worked alongside the Luoyang Women's and Children's Hospital in partnership with Dr. Zhai, Dr. Yang, and their pediatric surgical colleagues. Through an exchange of knowledge and experience, Mending Kids participated in a Regional Pediatric Teaching Conference, utilizing the latest telemedical and live-surgery support, broadcasting several surgeries to young and mid-career pediatric surgeons throughout the region. The conference drew a large audience, raised awareness, continued building trust and culminated in a new declaration by the Chief of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Yang announced, "We will no longer council parents of newborns with complex ARMs to take their babies home to die, because we have nothing to offer them. We now know how to repair these conditions and can offer infants not only life-saving procedures, but a good quality of life, thanks to the training your team has provided for us." The Pena stimulator and the new, lower-cost Frykman/Kimble stimulator were both developed as a result of past missions. These tools are muscle stimulators for the anal sphincter (also known as an anal “wink”), necessary to find the exact point to correct an imperforated anus. The Frykman/Kimble stimulator, developed by the Global Pediatric Surgical Technology & Education Project (GP STEP), proved its value in making ARM surgeries more affordable in China. This inexpensive, simple tool could be made available to local surgeons in China and aid thousands of children in giving them a chance at a healthier, more active life. Of equal importance, post-operative bowel management care, which is critical to the recovery of these young patients, was also taught and emphasized at the conference, with the participation of Janet Kimble, RN, an expert in the field and a veteran of dozens of missions with Mending Kids. Her instruction manual was also translated into Mandarin. Interested Volunteers Non-surgical team volunteers are limited as this is a Micro-Team Mission and there is currently a waiting list. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact email@example.com. The team fee for this mission is $4000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.Learn More
Mission: United States
The Need In Los Angeles, thousands of children live below the poverty line and are denied insurance coverage for non-life-threatening physical deformities that are considered “cosmetic” issues under state programs. Many families who do have insurance coverage for their children are still unable to afford the deductible required of them. Children living with these conditions have no options for healthcare coverage or governmental medical aid, and are therefore vulnerable to a life of bullying, shame, and embarrassment. This deprives children of their opportunity to thrive, develop self-confidence, and unfold their full potentials. The Mission Established in 2013 as a response to the growing need of basic surgical care in the most impoverished communities in Los Angeles, the Mending Kids Hometown Mission aims to give a second chance to these underserved children who lack insurance or who have been denied coverage for the treatment they need. Mending Kids is committed to providing all surgical interventions completely free of charge to these patients. Our team is comprised of volunteer medical personnel and board certified pediatric surgeons of various specialties, ranging anywhere from orthopedic, plastic & reconstructive, ENT, urology, and general surgeries. This is the 4th annual Mending Kids mission of its kind, and will take place July 16, 2016 with the goal of mending 20 kids with outpatient procedures. Sustainability Mending Kids is committed to the growth of the Hometown Mission and has thus formed a partnership with the Specialty Surgical Center. This partnership will foster access to even more underserved communities all over Southern California and the United States. Mending Kids is also forging strong corporate partnerships that will help cover major transportation and medical expenses, in order to guarantee that the children receive the best possible care from the top specialists in the their fields. Mending Kids hopes to have several Hometown Missions throughout the coming years and in various regions of the United States.Learn More
Where in the World Mozambique is located northeast of South Africa on the Indian Ocean. It is a nation of 21 Million people, 14 million of which are children. A former Portuguese colony, the nation gained its independence in 1975. As a result, the majority of the Portuguese population suddenly deserted the country, erasing public service and infrastructure. Once a destination for wealthy South African travelers and globetrotters, and known for its breathtaking coastline, Mozambique fell into a civil war between 1977 and 1992. A million lives were lost and this beautiful country was devastated. For over twenty years, Mozambique has been struggling to rebuild its infrastructure and replenish the ranks of medical and educational professionals. To complicate things, the recent discoveries of vast natural gas fields has infused the nation with enormous amounts of cash, none of which seems to be immediately earmarked for pediatric health care. However, Mozambique is determined to regain a care system, and so Mending Kids is working to train the few native doctors in Maputo. The Children As a result of extreme poverty, young children are often left unattended for long periods of time while parents leave home to seek a subsistence lifestyle. Young children are often left to care for even younger siblings and babies. Since most heating and cooking is done over an open, indoor fire, it is common to see young patients show up with massive, scalding, third degree burn wounds in the winter months of June, July, and August. If they survive, their wounds often go untreated for days to months. The Mission The current burn surgeries offered at the Hospital Centrale in Maputo, Mozambique often lead to amputation rather than reconstruction, due to the disfiguring and scar tissue buildup. The shortage of supplies often have these children waiting months for their surgeries. With the leadership of Dr. David Kulber of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, our annual Mending Kids mission to Mozambique tries to mend these children while also training the only local pediatric plastic surgeon, Dr. Celma Issufo, in advanced surgical techniques and proper post-op care. To hear about the Mending Kids Mozambique Mission from Dr. Kulber himself and how he is using Google Glass technology to improve surgical care abroad, follow this link to The Doctors show: http://thedoctorstv.com/videos/google-glass-for-virtually-guided-surgery This is the first ever surgical mission that anyone has ever used Google Glass for, and we are proud to use them to better the medical practices in developing countries. Progress and Goals Working in Mozambique and operating out of the HCM, we have gained an important understanding on how to better train the local surgeons and medical staff more effectively in future missions, given their severe lack of supplies, equipment limitations and thirst for specialty basic training. Our goal in laying a foundation for future missions to the HCM would be to have a specific training focus on fundamental plastic surgery training to reconstruct acute burn wounds, the seventh leading pediatric cause of death in the country (AIDS and Tuberculosis being the top two). We have partnered with ReSurge International in order to be able to send missions up to four times a year to provide more continuous, shoulder-to-shoulder training with Dr. Celma Issufo. Our hope is to make great strides at self-sustainment in burn treatment in Mozambique while making many more of these surgeries available to desperate children, all while gaining the trust of local surgeons and empowering them to provide these procedures confidently. Ideally, and hopefully in the near future, the government will see the need and be encouraged to build a dedicated pediatric surgery ward so that more children may have quicker access to surgery, rather than having to compete with the medical needs of the adult population. Only through awareness and positive results from missions may this goal become a reality. Interested Volunteers Non-surgical team volunteers are limited as this is a Micro-Team Mission, and there is currently a waiting list. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The team fee for this mission is $5000 and will require a deposit of $1000 to hold your spot. Publications Karan A, Amado V, Vitorino P, Kulber D, Taela A, DeUgarte DA. Evaluating the socioeconomic and cultural factors associated with pediatric burn injuries in Maputo, Mozambique. Aug 2015. Pediatric Surgery International.Learn More
Where in the World Tanzania is located in the eastern region of Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the South. The population of Tanzania is about 47.4 million and 45% of the population are children between the ages of 0-14. The population distribution of Tanzania is extremely uneven with most people living on the northern border or eastern coast. Many Tanzanians live on an equivalent of less than a dollar a day. Healthcare in Tanzania Healthcare in Tanzania is not accessible to the entire population. It is only available to those who have income. Health insurance has only been recently introduced, but it is very limited and does not attend to the needs of the majority of Tanzanians, particularly those outside of urban areas. For a population of almost 50 million people, there are only approximately 800 qualified doctors in entire the country. This patient to doctor ratio is among the worst in all of Africa. The Children According to UNICEF, the under-five mortality rate in Tanzania is strikingly high at 81 deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate is 51 per 1,000 live births. Tanzania is making considerable progress in the reduction of child mortality due to the government’s commitment to increase use of key health interventions. These include sustained high coverage of under-five immunizations, Vitamin A supplementation, insecticide treated bed nets, and better treatment for malaria. Tanzania has a high prevalence of congenital heart diseases. In a research study conducted at the Bugando Medical Center between October 2012 and January 2013, 29% of infants enrolled in the study had high prevalence of congenital anomalies. This Mending Kids mission will provide both open-heart surgeries and training in order to create a sustainable program for the cardiac needs of children in Tanzania. The Mission This Mending Kids cardiac/cath mission to Tanzania will take place from September 8-19, 2016 in collaboration with the surgical team from Bambino Gesù Ospedale Pediatrico in Italy and the Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. This mission will be led by pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. Salvatore (Sasha) Agati, and by pediatric interventional cardiologist, Dr. Evan Zahn. The goal is to provide life-saving open-heart surgeries for up to 15 kids and interventional procedures for 20 kids, including training for local cardiac surgeon, Dr. Godwin Sharau, who just completed five years of training in Israel. Dr. Sharau is the first Tanzanian surgeon to focus solely on pediatric cardiac surgery. Goals Short term: Mend hearts requiring complex surgeries to help Dr. Sharau gain more skills and confidence. Intermediate term: Collaborate with Open Hearts International and Save A Child's Heart to send more missions year round for the next few years. This will not only empower Dr. Sharau but also encourage the hospital to allocate more funds for pediatric cardiac care. Long term: Establish a successful cardiac program in Tanzania so that children will no longer need to be sent out of the country for cardiac care. Interested Volunteers Non-surgical team volunteers are currently being recruited for this mission. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact email@example.com. The team fee for this mission is $5000 and will require a deposit of $1000 to hold your spot.Learn More
Where in the World Tanzania is located in the eastern region of Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo to the west; and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the South. The population of Tanzania is about 47.4 million and 45% of the population are children between the ages of 0-14. The population distribution of Tanzania is extremely uneven with most people living on the northern border or eastern coast. Many Tanzanians live on an equivalent of less than a dollar a day. The Mwanza Region is located in northern Tanzania with a population of 2,800,000, the second largest city in Tanzania. The Mwanza Region is occupied by various tribal groups. The region currently has 6 hospitals, led by the Bugando Medical Center. Healthcare in Tanzania Healthcare in Tanzania is not accessible to the entire population. It is only available to those who have income. Health insurance has only been recently introduced, but it is very limited and does not attend to the needs of the majority of Tanzanians, particularly those outside of urban areas. For a population of almost 50 million people, there are only approximately 800 qualified doctors in entire the country. This patient to doctor ratio is among the worst in all of Africa. The Children According to UNICEF, the under-five mortality rate in Tanzania is strikingly high at 81 deaths per 1,000 live births. The infant mortality rate is 51 per 1,000 live births. Tanzania is making considerable progress in the reduction of child mortality due to the government’s commitment to increase use of key health interventions. These include sustained high coverage of under-five immunizations, Vitamin A supplementation, insecticide treated bed nets, and better treatment for malaria. The Mission This Mending Kids ARM mission to Mwanza will take place from October 28-November 5, 2016 in collaboration with the surgical team from the Colorectal Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and the Bugando Medical Center. This mission will be led by pediatric surgeon, Dr. Jason Frischer. The goal is to provide life-changing surgeries for up to 15 kids, including training for local surgeon, Sister Dr. Alicia Massenga. There are currently hundreds of children at the center with complex colorectal malformations who are awaiting surgeries. Goals Short term: 1. Mend a dozen children requiring complex surgeries to help Sister Dr. Massenga gain more skills and confidence. 2. Train nurses on bowel management and post-operative care for their patients. Intermediate term: Collaborate with other mission teams to have a steady flow of surgeons travel to the Bugando Medical Center throughout the year to keep up the doctors' training. This will not only empower Sister Dr. Massenga but also encourage the Bugando Medical Center to allocate more funds for pediatric congenital colorectal care. Long term: Establish a successful colorectal program in Tanzania so that children from all over the country and region can be referred there for safe, life-changing surgeries. Interested Volunteers Non-surgical team volunteers are currently being recruited for this mission. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The team fee for this mission is $5000 and will require a deposit of $1000 to hold your spot.Learn More
Where in the World 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 The Mending Kids mission to Guatemala each year is a shining example of our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of a nation still recovering from a civil war nearly 20 years ago and a country where nearly half of its population is under the age of 18. In 2014, we sent two separate ENT missions there to provide specialized surgical care to the most underserved segment of the population. Currently in Guatemala City, there are only 4 ENT surgeons, making it very difficult to see these specialists. In July 2015, we sent a joint ENT and Plastics mission, led by otolaryngologists Dr. Ayal Willner and Dr. Nina Yoshpe of Miller’s Children’s Hospital in Long Beach and Dr. McCoy “Mac” Moretz of F.A.C.E. of Beverly Hills. These surgeons mended 105 children in just one week! In November 2016, we will send another mission to continue providing life-changing and life-saving surgeries for children in need of these procedures. Goals To expand the clinical training of on-site providers, to create partnerships with satellite clinics to enhance pre-op and post-op care, to expand the scope to include higher complexity surgical cases such as congenital anomalies, and to continue the training until self-sustainment has been established without the need for assistance from missions such as ours. Interested Volunteers Non-surgical team volunteers are currently being recruited for this mission. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact email@example.com. The team fee for this mission is $3000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.Learn More
Our Four Core Programs
Individual Surgical Care — International
Kids with complex cases are provided transportation and are aided by our partner hospitals in India, Israel & Canada.
Overseas Surgical Missions
Surgical teams and volunteers travel to developing countries to perform surgeries and build sustainable programs.
US Hometown Missions
In the span of one day, there are up to 20 free surgeries performed by volunteer surgeons for American Kids.
Individual Surgical Care — US
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