Mission: Peru

Mission Facts

  • Location: Iquitos, Peru

  • Population: 370,962

  • Dates: 08/01/2017 - 08/07/2017

  • Surgeons: Dr. Vincent Duron

  • Focus: Trauma and General Surgery

  • Complexity: Medium - High

  • Training: Medium - High

  • Average Mended: 10

Mission Brief

Where in the World
Peru is located in western South America and is bordered by Ecuador and Columbia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is a country rich in cultural, ethnic, linguistic, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity.

Iquitos is the largest city in the world without access by road. A port city located in the Peruvian rainforest, it is the gateway to all the tribal villages and lodges of this northern part of the Amazon.

Healthcare in Peru
Peru is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is classified as an upper middle income country by the World Bank. Despite this economic growth, it is still a developing country with a poverty level of 26%. Almost 40% of children in the country are living below the poverty line. The government offers universal healthcare coverage, however funds are not enough to cover the entire population. Only 50% of Peruvians with chronic health issues receive any sort of treatment.

The Mission
For the last three years, Dr. Vincent Duron of Children’s Hospital of New York - Columbia University, has been returning to Iquitos on a bi-annual basis to assist the general and pediatric surgeons with pediatric surgical care.

At present there is a young pediatric surgeon, Dr. Alex Ponce, who has just graduated from training. The training in Peru for pediatric surgery is only 3 years compared to the US training of 8-9 years. As such, young pediatric surgeons are not equipped to handle complex cases and usually remain under the mentorship of a senior surgeon for assistance in complicated cases during the first several years of their career.

As Dr. Ponce has no such assistance, many complicated cases still get referred out to Lima. Compounding this, most families in Iquitos have limited resources, they often cannot afford the trip to Lima and so return to their homes with no care for the infant or child. There is also minimal knowledge or resources for pediatric laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery in Iquitos.

Progress and Goals
The objective of this health intervention project is to provide pediatric surgical care to the infants and children of the Loreto region through direct operative intervention and training of local pediatric surgical providers. We hope that the care provided will be sustained through training local surgeons in surgical technique and clinical decision-Making with the goal of creating a sustainable surgical care program in Iquitos, Peru and gathering the all the data to create a Trauma Registry.

Interested Volunteers
The dates of this mission are not yet finalized.

Although this mission was completed earlier this year, we would love to have you join us on a future mission. 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 $4000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.

Join our team by donating today in support of Mending Kids’ efforts to help Peruvian children live longer, stronger lives.

Mission Map