Well-known Brevard County plastic surgeon Dr. Ross Clevens and his 14 year old son Max traveled to Tanzania this spring as part of a two week medical mission with Outreach Africa, a non-denomination outreach mission that included clinicians, nurses, support staff and physicians from throughout the country.
The group visited the Singida Province, known as one of the poorest regions in the country, where “conditions are quite primitive and most cooking is done over open flames, causing extreme burns, especially among children,” according to Clevens, who was accompanied by one additional surgeon, internal, medical physicians, pediatricians and family doctors. “We worked to fix strictures and scarring related to those burns, along with wounds, tumors, and infections affecting the head and the neck.” Patients from the region also have a high a high incidence of cleft palates and congenital anomalies that need repair.
“This mission not only benefited patients, but also local physicians. We had the opportunity to meet with the regional health commissioner and share our expertise with Tanzanian doctors. We had observers in the operating room with whom we shared operative skills and techniques.”
After a week of preparing the hospital, Dr. Clevens spent nearly 12 hours a day in surgery, operating on nearly 25 cases. Max, who worked as a patient assistant, greeted, triaged and transported patients. “My family and I traveled to Africa in 2007, visiting schools and villages. That trip kindled the desire to return to Africa in a charitable capacity. This trip was a profound experience for my son and myself.”
To learn more about Outreach Africa visit www.outreachafrica.org