Eight years ago, I met Pedro Santos, a plastic surgeon born in Mozambique. Like others, he had grown frustrated and found himself adrift in his education due to the lack of education and training resources. After protesting the poor working conditions and pay for doctors in Mozambique, he was relieved of his duties so I would meet with him at remote locations. I could see the fire in Pedro’s eyes, and I knew he could become a powerful agent of change.
For three years we worked with government officials to get Pedro accepted back into the system. With the assistance of former Prime Minister, Tony Blair Pedro’s re-entry was finally secured. Incredibly, he was chosen to run the plastic surgery unit in a new hospital built in Matola, 45 minutes outside the capital. However, Pedro had failed the African COSECA certification boards twice, and a third failure would mean a return to training.
It was clear to me a year-round education system was the only way to help Pedro. This was ultimately made possible with our NGO friends at Resurge who helped us add more surgical missions to Mozambique using Ohana One Smart Glasses. Last year Pedro passed his board exams and became one of the first Mozambique plastic surgeons to be board certified.
During this time, his colleague Angela observed the amount of education Pedro was receiving both during our visits from remote teaching. It was the motivation she needed to make a return to her training. After much discussion with the hospital and government authorities during our mission last August, Angela has been granted readmission to the training program. In a true pay-it-forward moment, Pedro has the skill and knowledge to fully train Angela as a plastic surgeon.
Only three plastic surgeons serve Mozambique, a country of 30 million, with only two being COSECA certified. As there are few residents in the training program, this is a small but significant accomplishment. The more we improve their educational system, the more medical students we will attract and train. Our continued support makes these moments possible.