Reconstructive Surgery Missions for Developing Countries

Action For Defenceless People Foundation


Our Mission

Action For Defenceless People Foundation is a Hungarian public benefit Medical Aid and Charity Foundation which was founded in 2002 by two Hungarian surgeons, Dr. Gergely Pataki and Dr. Andras Csokay. Its activities include helping those Defenceless People, who can do little or nothing to protect themselves because of their economic position or state of health. To achieve this goal, the Foundation performs free surgery in Hungary and abroad, mostly in developing countries, organizes rehabilitation of patients, coordinates professional education and consultation in health-related institutions, and assists to acquire special medical equipment for hospitals. Volunteering camps are our main works in developing countries. (So far: in Bangladesh 8 missions,  in Nigeria 11 missions and Cambodia 1 mission .)

The Foundation consists of volunteer medical personnel (plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons anesthetists, operation theatre and anesthetic nurses and other specialists), who work free of charge, usually during their annual holiday. Travel expenses, medical supplies, and instruments are funded by donations raised in Hungary from public or hopefully in the future from the industry.

Our teams provide reconstructive operations that transform the lives of children with physical disabilities and thereby improve the future of the whole family of those children, too. Action For Defenceless People Foundation has no financial, political, racial or religious interest.

The aim is to provide plastic surgery to improve form and function, but do not perform cosmetic surgery. Cooperation with local medical staff and working at existing hospitals close to the patients´ home is efficient and offers education in a specialist field for all involved. Apart from medical staff, local volunteers with social commitment are essential for the preparation and the smooth running of a successful  Action For Defenceless camp. The Foundation aims a long-term support of medical institutions in regions of developing countries with especially heavy social poverty for promoting long-term projects for plastic surgery.

The organization’s purpose is to provide aid in the field of plastic surgery offering surgical operations for people with inborn defects and malformations and acquired loss of body- form and function in developing countries. The organization as well supports the essential improvement of life quality by accompanying charitable and humanitarian activities. Thereby the organization works together with other organizations and foundations which have similar objectives.

Types of operation

The treatments are primarily aimed at patients with:

Burns contractures, extensive burn scars (postburn, mature scars) on head and body, various function limiting hand and extremity diseases that can be treated with reconstructive surgery (malformation of hands like syndactyly), reconstruction of scars after traumas, or after primer operation of congenital deformities like cleft lip or primer congenital facial or chest deformitioes like Parry-Romberg syndrome or Poland Syndrom,  functional deficits or disfiguration disabilities due to accidents, injury (acid attacks) or wound consequences of war and other diseases (e.g. defect after infection – polio, leprosy, noma etc.), which require the skills of plastic surgery, tumours – or facial malformations located on head and skin in children, but usually some adults can be considered for surgery as well.

In order to collect the local patients in need for surgeries, we advise using the media and other forms of notifications, announcements that inform potential patients or their families, neighbors.

What we don’t do:  acute burns treatment, currently no primary cleft lip and palate is done by us, only secondary cleft lip and other facial clefts.


If you, your town, your hospital, or a charitable organization you know is thinking about hosting an Action For Defenceless camp, here are some important points to consider:

  • advance notice for the team should be given several months before the intended date
  • duration of the camp is usually 2 weeks, i.e. 10 operating days. Depending on the severity of cases, more than 50 well-selected patients can be operated during that time.
  • the size of the team varies depending on the number of operating tables, anesthetic facilities and local staff available. Pilot missions consist of one or two doctors with one theatre nurse. After the first exploring mission on average, a team will consist of 6-10 people, 2-4 surgeons, 2 anesthetists, 1-2 OR-nurse and 1 anesthetic nurse, thus being able to run 2 operating tables (smaller or larger teams possible on request).
  • local staff, i.e. doctors, nurses, interested volunteers are essential for the smooth running of the camp
  • patient pre-selection should be done by local doctors during the months before the camp. If possible, they should inform the team about the type of surgery and special cases beforehand to allow appropriate planning of instruments and supplies for the camp. Informing is through emails with detailed, anonymous photos. (The treatments are primarily aimed at patients with the described problems above.)
  • the first day consists of screening and selecting the patients for the operating lists, unpacking equipment and setting up the operating room(s).
  • long working hours have to be anticipated by all involved to make an effective camp. Apart from operating, ward rounds and change of dressing sessions take place every day.
  • the hospital should offer:  if possible two operating tables / anesthetic machines, recovery room, enough beds (in tents, if necessary) electricity supply, water, normal saline for infusion, sheets, and gowns, if possible oxygen,  some dressing material, plaster of paris, necessary medicine (antibiotics)
  • the Action For Defenceless Team will provide: special instruments and medical equipment, suture material and special drugs and dressings and Hungarian enthusiasm with discipline.
  • you are requested to provide: (if possible, but if you don´t have the means, other arrangements can be discussed) basic, clean accommodation, food and transport for the team. Local Government / Health Ministry Permission for camp; assistance with customs, excess baggage clearance.

20 years of experience and many hundred grateful patients are proof of the success of Action For Defenceless activities and Dr. Pataki’s and Dr. Csokay’s dream of helping the Defenceless People to come true. YOU can be part of it.

For further information, please contact:  Dr. Pataki
+36 20 512 91 92