ORH 2017 - Mission Launch
Another year has passed: doctors from New Zealand, Germany and Australia leave their daily routine at home behind them to provide help for needy children from the Philippines. From 10 - 18 March volunteers gather in Manila, together with 35 highly specialised colleagues to take part in the international initiative, Operation Restore Hope (ORH). They will be donating their skills and time to operate on children afflicted with cleft lip and palate.
Dr. Christoph Wachsmuth is part founder and chairman of the German Foundation of Operation Restore Hope and together with Dr Tristan de Chalain, also chief coordinator and founder of ORH New Zealand are responsible for organising the trip.
The Foundation, founded in 1997, is responsible for treating needy children of the Philippines, from the slums of Manila and surroundings, with cleft lip and palate, congenital deformities of the hands and feet, tumours and complications following injuries, such as burns.
This mission brings them to HOSPITAL NG PARANAQUE in Manila on their 19th consecutive mission. Together with them are Dr. Jeffrey Fairley (Plastic Surgeon), Jana Voelpel (Anaesthesiologist), Dirk Deumeland (Deputy Chairmen of ORF e.V) and Sylke Schumann (Photographer, Correspondent and Administrator), from Germany, Drs. Ahmed Alkhadi, Chris Smit, Andy Viles, Ewa Strick and Phil Wolstencroft, nurses Sheryl Flower, Jenny Newell, Janine Wells, Technicians Helen Paul and Ian Clark. Australia has also sent along Dr. Ann Collins, senior nurse Sue Slater and technician Janice Cruz. Our recovery room is run by Ana Borbajo (AUS), Josephine Realisan (UK), Flordeliz Supan (USA).
To enable a successful mission, and to accomplish as much as possible in the week available, organisation has to function optimally. 2 full days of intensive screening of patients are followed by 5 days of intensive surgery. Approximately 100 operations are performed over the 5 days utilising 3 operating tables.
For this year´s mission the team of doctors from New Zealand, Australia and Germany have chosen once again HOSPITAL PARANAQUE NG. The sincere and professional work together with Dr. Ephraim Neal Orteza, Director of the philippine hospital and the excellent facilities available there, guarantee an uncomplicated workflow. Patients from outlying provinces coming to surgery for the first time, also benefit from the excellent infrastructure at the hospital.
As in every year, philippine doctors and sisters are able, not only to observe the international teams, but gain 'hands on' experience, enabling empowerment and helping them to carry the good work forward.
Screening of the small patients
One day following arrival, a day of screening decides which of the small patients will have surgery the following day. If the patient is declared fit (excluding respiratory, cardiac and infectious diseases to reduce the risk of anaesthesia) they are taken up in the lists for surgery during the following days. In the 5 following days of surgery at least 100 operations are carried out. At the end of the mission this number can markedly increase due to 'walk in' patients.
Affected children lie close to the doctor´s hearts. There is a high incidence of cleft lips and palates in the Philippines. In fact there is no chance of adequate medical care or surgery due to the poor financial status of all families and the lack of infrastructure and medical resources.
Most of these unfortunate children are social outcasts, ignored by others due to the stigmata of their affliction. They are also in the main undernourished, due to the fact that feeding and eating is more than problematic for most. Due to their palatal deformity speech is severly comprimised resulting not only in poor social contact but chronic infections of the ear nose and throat.
We would like to thank all sponsors, all clinics and partners for their generous engagement and financial aid. We hope that this newsletter once again provides you with a mirror of our ORH mission in the Philippines 2017.