Philip is a bright-eyed toddler who loves playtime with his siblings. Philip was born in Uganda, a country with a population of over 45 million but only 0.73 general surgeons per 100,000 people. The need for reconstructive surgeons is exceptionally high in low-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. With so few surgeons, it can be rare to find a reconstructive surgeon with the specific skills necessary to treat difficult cases. The ideal goal should be 20 specialist surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians per 100,000 people.
Reconstructive surgery treats congenital anomalies like clefts, traumatic injuries including burns and road traffic accidents, and malignant conditions like cancers. These conditions represent approximately 30% of the global burden of disease. That’s three times more than malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.
The lack of safe, timely, and affordable surgical care can be disastrous for communities, families, and children. Philip and his family know this truth all too well.
Philip’s mother is a food vendor. One unlucky day, Philip’s 10-year-old sister was helping her mother move a large, boiling pot of beans when the pot slipped and fell all over baby Philip. Over 40% of his body was scalded.
Not knowing what to do, the family attempted to treat him at home for two months. His condition worsened. When he was finally brought to the hospital, Philip was septic, anemic, and with an electrolyte imbalance. After three weeks of intensive care, Philip was stable enough to receive a skin graft.
Without medical intervention, Philip may have become one of the millions of people who die each year from surgically preventable causes.
Dr. Seif Nuru, the ReSurge surgeon who operated on Philip, is a general surgeon from Tanzania currently receiving reconstructive surgical training funded by ReSurge in Uganda. Dr. Nuru is part of ReSurge’s initiative to train the next generation of local surgeons and surgical teams in low-income countries to create a ripple effect of impact and long-term solutions for the lack of surgical care in low-income countries. In many countries where we work, we are training the first and only reconstructive surgeons in the entire region.
ReSurge’s mission is to transform lives by building surgical capacity where it’s needed most, so more children like Philip don’t have to suffer. Philip has been through a lot at a young age, but because he got the care he needed, we know that his future is going to be as bright and promising as the sparkle in his eyes!