Our goal is not limited to single missions, but to cultivate sustained programs through education. Through remote proctoring, we have successfully helped two surgeons in Africa achieve specialty board certification in Plastic Surgery, helping return function to patients through reconstructive surgery after burns or tumor resection.
Angela is a Mozambique plastic surgery resident who speaks excellent English and is very intelligent and motivated. When I first met her 5 years ago in her first year of plastic surgery residency, she was frustrated and dismayed as there was limited training in Mozambique , and she felt she would never learn enough to be a proficient surgeon. She quit the program and looked outside Mozambique to train. This was unfortunate as there are only 3 native Mozambique plastic surgeons and only a few in the training program. Two others that I had met either dropped out or moved away. For Mozambique to be self sustaining and take care of the large underserved population , they need to train and educate their own.
Eight years ago I met Pedro Santos who was a smart motivated plastic surgeon born in Mozambique, but was drifting and frustrated. He had protested the poor working conditions and pay for doctors in Mozambique and the government kicked him out of the system. I heard of him through a patient I took care of in Los Angeles who is from Mozambique. My first day in Mozambique Pedro came to visit me in Hospital Centrale , and security escorted him out. I had to meet him at remote locations as I did not want to offend the governments wishes, but I saw a sparkle and fire in Pedro’s eyes. I knew he was the future, and fate had brought us together.
For three years we worked meeting government officials , and with the assistance of Tony Blair , I was able to speak with the right people and get Pedro back into the system. Even better, Dr. Santos was given a position to run the plastic surgery unit in a new hospital built in Matola , 45 minutes outside the capitol. Pedro had failed the African COSECA boards twice , and a third failure would mean going back to training. It was clear to me a year round education system was the only way to help Pedro. With the help of Resurge bringing more missions to Mozambique and using Smart Glasses and the Xpert eye platform , year round education was possible. Last year Pedro not only passed his boards and became one of the first Mozambique plastic surgeons to be board certified, but he also had the second highest score in all of Africa. ( which includes South Africa) .
Angela who maintained a relationship with Pedro witnessed the amount of education he was getting both when we visit and from remote teaching and wanted to return to training . After much prompting and discussion with the hospital and government authorities during our mission last August, Angela has be granted readmission to the training program. This is a play it forward moment as Pedro now has the skill and knowledge ( with our help ) to fully train Angela as a plastic surgeon.
This is one small accomplishment as their are few residents in the training program. The better we make the education , the more people we will attract and train. Mozambique is a country of 30 million with only 3 plastic surgeons ( 2 COSECA certified, Celma and Pedro ) .
Our continued support makes these moments possible and have a true impact in Mozambique and the vastly underserved population.