As a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, providing plastic surgical needs has been my goal, but I had never thought to look outside of the United States for the delivery of surgical healthcare. After a period of discovery, I had the pleasure of traveling to Sudan, delivering surgical aid to the needy. Fortunately I planned a 7 day mission to Sudan, taking the time I needed to operate upon children with Cleft lips and/or palates from ages of 1 month to 21 years.
The Sudanese newspapers had informed the public that American Plastic Surgeons where going to be in Khartoum, Sudan to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries, the response was overwhelming. In excess of 350 patients with their families traveled hours and days from all parts of Sudan and even Darfur to seek surgical care. I was humbled with the number of children who were in their teens and late adolescents who could not receive the attention needed for their surgical care. The surgical facility was a privately donated hospital building to perform our reconstructive surgical procedures.
During the week stay in Khartoum, I worked with Dr. Malik, a fellow ASPS member from New Jersey in completing 61 cases of combined unilateral and bilateral cleft lips. Although the surgical environment was different than our standard operating environment in the United States, I was able to augment their facility with instrumentation and disposable equipment needed to satisfactorily perform surgery on these children and young adults. Our team consisted of two plastic surgeons and two anesthesiologists. We received support from many Sudanese dentists and oral surgeons in training both in communication and perioperative care. The most rewarding part of the surgical mission was the joy, relief and gratitude from the parents and siblings of these children. Our organization is able to continue its mission because of your support and generosity. If you are interested in making a donation towards our Mission please click on the link below
Khalique Zahir, MD., FACS