Honduras 2023 Medical/Dental/Surgical Mission
Hello everyone. God has done it again as we just concluded a successful medical/dental/surgical mission in collaboration with the North American Taiwanese Medical Association (NATMA), at Hospital Adventista Valle de Angeles (Seventh Day Adventist Hospital), Honduras, May 21-24, 2023.
As usual, the multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Charles and Mrs. Jennifer Hsu, and NATMA Foundation Chairman, Dr. Pofu Hsieh, consisted of 45 volunteers from the United States ( Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Cardiologist, Dentists, Surgeons, OBGYNs, Acupuncturists, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Residents, Medical Students and non-medical support volunteers), who worked with similar colleagues in the local country that numbered over 80 (including more specialties like Anesthesiologists, Pharmacists, Clergy, Interpreters, Scribes, etc).
The Primary team saw 1500 patients, Dental team treated 300 patients many dental fillings, in four days!
OB/Gyn, Dr. Dianne Yu, joined the medical team as a consultant at the outreaches, as did Cardiologist, Dr. Osita Onyekwere.
The Surgical team consisted of 2 surgeons from Kaiser Ontario, California (Drs. Nina Bowman and Cliff Eke), 2 from Kaiser Riverside, CA (Drs. Tara Wilson and Dahlia Tawfik), 1 from University of California Irvine (Dr. Erin Lin) and 1 Gynecologist from Washington DC (Dr. Steve Yu), plus surgical PA Tawana Bryant.
We performed 80 surgeries in 4 days!
The hospital there generally does about 3 operations a day, under the charge of Jennifer Mundall, NP, and Dr. Joel Mundall, both of whom helped plan and coordinate the mission. Our surgeries stretched their capacity, but were impactful and really changed some peoples lives, as depicted in the attached pictures. Most common cases performed were laparoscopic cholecystectomies, since the incidence of symptomatic cholelithiasis is high in this region. Other cases were umbilical and inguinal hernias, as well as large recurrent incisional hernias repaired for good with meshes we brought. We also performed pediatric hernia repair, anal fistula repair, rectal prolapse repair, lumps and bumps excisions, exploratory laparotomy, diagnostic laparoscopy, uterine myomectomies, uterine prolapse repair, hysterectomies, tubal ligation, and laparoscopic appendectomy, etc.
There were many special moments but I will mention a few. A 14 year old girl with many hours of abdominal pain walked with her mom all day to get to the Hospital Adventista and was clinically diagnosed with acute appendicitis after a detailed history and physical by our team members, without CT Scan or imaging done (a rare occurrence in our usual practice in the US). She underwent a successful laparoscopic appendectomy for free and went home same day. She and her mom were so grateful, stating that they would have to trek another two hours to get to another hospital if we didn’t attend to them.
A 76 year old pleasant woman with a very large lower abdominal ventral hernia present for 12 years causing pain, discomfort, and had stretched the skin so much that it became chronically excoriated and covered the entire pubic area. She could not function very well and didn’t have it repaired because she couldn’t afford the cost. She heard about the free surgical outreach and was prescreened by the local surgeon, Dr. Lyanne Cherenfant, who also assisted us in the three hour procedure to repair it with a mesh we brought, and doing a panniculectomy same time. She was so delighted because she “got both a great tummy tuck and hernia repair to God’s glory. “ You can see the before and after pictures attached and the joy in her face when we rounded on her the next day.
Finally, working with colleagues, exchanging knowledge and skills, teaching surgical Residents and students, plus working with a lot of different people, and observing first time medical mission volunteers take initiatives to adapt to low resource environment and still perform well, is special and priceless!
The NATMA team donated over $20,000 surgical and $3,000 dental equipments and supplies, plus paid the hospital $12,000 for our other expenses. The team also donated $2,000 cash to the hospital to assist in their fundraising campaign for the renovation of their Emergency Department.
After the hard work some of us went to Costa Rica for cultural exchange and fun.
Overall, am pleased with the outcome of this mission. Although I wish that medical missions would become rare, it remains essential due to worsening poverty and lack of access to quality health services around the world.
You can find out more about what we do and render support at our websites www.NATMA.org and www.chimamedicalmissions.com.
Thanks to all volunteers (whom I cannot mention individually due to lack of space), and to you for your prayers and support.
Cliff C. Eke, MD, FACS, FICS
Surgical Team Lead
Founder/CEO Chima Medical Missions International
President-Elect, Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA)