Doctors Without Borders

 

My husband and I started looking into a charity to support recently. A friend had suggested a while back that we might want to give to charity more regularly when we became older. We didn’t think much of it then. I guess we are now older.

Looking into the world of charity, it’s only natural that we focus on medical charities as we are both medics. ‘Doctors Without Borders’(Medicine Sans Frontiere) has come out top on our list for what they do and how they do it, bringing medical care to where it’s most needed. MSF told us about a specific project in Jordan which particularly resonates with my field of interest.

Patients in the Amman(Capital of Jordan) program are civilians wounded by bombs, explosions, or gunshots in conflicts across the region. They have severe, complicated injuries that were not treated right away, or couldn’t be treated properly in their home country. Injuries such as shattered bone and severe burns. Many also have life-threatening bone infections, often with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

This is a very neglected population, people who would otherwise never recover properly. Treating injuries like these often requires many surgeries over a long period of time, with intensive physiotherapy in between.

The program started in 2004 at the height of the violence in Iraq, when the security situation forced MSF and other non-governmental organisations out of Iraq.Rather than leave the region, MSF looked towards Iraq’s neighbor, Jordan, which is politically stable and has an excellent medical infrastructure. A special unit within the Red Crescent Hospital in Amman was set up for Iraqi civilian victims of war. Patients were referred through a network of doctors in Iraq. Over time this network expanded, patients now come from Yemen, Libya, Gaza, and Syria.

The program does a lot of reconstructive surgeries for people with severe injuries and disfigurement of the face. For patients with injured arms or legs, the team focuses on reconstructing limbs whenever possible, trying to avoid amputation. Many patients have a very hard time accepting the idea of amputation, especially if they’ve already lived with their injury for a long time. Also, reconstruction can be better at restoring certain types of mobility that are part of daily life for many people here; for example, kneeling to pray is almost impossible with a prosthetic leg. So is using an Eastern-style squat toilet. Being able to do these things independently is a basic part of living an independent life.

Between surgeries, the patients stay in a rehabilitation center. This is where they get physiotherapy-a crucial part of recovery. So is psychosocial care, which is given both at the hospital bedside and the rehabilitation center. There are quite a few children among the patients as well, and there’s a small school at the center.

For the patients, the Amman program is a new kind of community. This is a unique element of the program, and something MSF is acutely aware of. People are far from home, so the program is more than just a hospital. For the duration of treatment, it’s their world. The aim is to help them return home eventually with the ability to function better in their world.

In addition to involving ourselves personally with this charity, we are planning to indirectly involve our patients in it. Hence do not be surprised if you hear that your payment for a particular treatment or consultation is going directly to this setup – ‘Doctors Without Borders’, medical care that crosses all political, religious and ethnic barriers.

 

Mrs  CC Kat is a leading Midlands Consultant Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She is a full member of both British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and British Association of Aesthetic , Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) as well as several international aesthetic surgery associations. She worked as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust but now runs her private practice, CC Kat Aesthetics – Birmingham Laser, Skin and Cosmetic Clinic, full time. For more information, visit www.cckat.com or call 0121 456 7930.

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