Mission: Mozambique

Mission Facts

  • Location: Maputo, Mozambique

  • Population: 1,240,000

  • Dates: 08/14/2017 - 08/21/2017

  • Surgeons: Dr. David Kulber

  • Focus: Plastics & Burns

  • Complexity: Very High

  • Training: Very High

  • Average Mended: 40

Mission Brief

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
Acute burn wounds are the seventh leading pediatric cause of death in Mozambique (AIDS and Tuberculosis being the top two). Catastrophic accidents with children commonly occur in the home due to families cooking indoors with open fires, unstable propane burners, or burning trash in close quarters; resulting in massive scalding and third degree burn wounds to children in close proximity.

Due to inadequate access to health services, essential medicines, and a shortage of health professionals trained in wound management, children may go untreated for weeks, even months. Current burn surgeries offered in Mozambique often lead to amputation rather than reconstruction, due to traumatic disfigurement, scar-tissue buildup, and mobility restricting ligatures, with no relief in sight.

The Mission
The first Mending Kids surgical mission was deployed to Mozambique in 2011, in the countryís capital of Maputo. Taking place at the Hospital Central de Maputo (HCM) and in collaboration with Dr. Celma Issufo (the first pediatric plastic surgeon in the country) this mission took the first steps toward building a long-term relationship for imparting safe surgical skills and post-operative wound management in order for Mozambican medical professionals to provide for their patients.

Under the on-going leadership of Dr. David Kulber from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, his Mending Kids team provides, pediatric surgical training in plastic and burn reconstructive techniques.
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
Mending Kids strives to establish self-sustainment in burn treatment and management at HCM while making more complex surgeries available to children. Training local hospital staff in post-operative care for children and wound care management for burns is a paramount goal for reducing infection during recovery and increasing patient recovery times.

Mending Kids partnered with ReSurge International in 2016 with the goal of sending surgical missions multiple times a year to provide continuous, shoulder-to-shoulder surgical training for Dr. Issufo and her team of surgeons. In addition to contributing teachings to hospital staff in the ICU and recovery ward about post-operative care, wound care management, and physical therapy for burn victims.

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 molly@mendingkids.org. The team fee for this mission is $5000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.

Donate today to support our teamís work providing plastic and burn surgical care for the children of Mozambique.

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.

Mission Map