The Action for Defenceless People Foundation has started its Nigerian mission at the St. Charles Borromeo Hospital in Onitsha, performing neurosurgery and restorative plastic surgery.
The two and a half weeks of operation completed on July 10, 2017, were preceded by a field trip at the end of last year: Dr. Andras Csokay neurosurgeon, president of our Foundation, visited many hospitals in order to find an ideal place where he can carry out essential operations together with our founder, Dr. Greg Pataki plastic surgeon, to improve the health of the locals.
Primarily there was a huge need for spinal cord decompression, removal of spinal canal and skull tumors that caused immobility, herniated disk surgery, treatment of severe burns that caused immobilizing arm or leg deformations with skin replacement and autologous tissue transfer, and repair of abnormally healed scars with Z-plasty and autologous fat transfer.
Among the 35 operations performed on 21 patients, there were extremely complex ones: a 28-year-old pregnant woman, for example, underwent a five-hour intervention to remove an extréme, two-fist sized tumor from her brain. The next morning she was smiling in a better state while thanked for the help, without which she and her baby would not have a chance to survive – now they can expect many healthy decades together. Besides this, Dr. Pataki removed more extreme-sized facial tumors with autologous tissue transfer.
The 250-bed St. Borromeo Hospital, founded in 1965, is one of Nigeria’s largest non-public health institutions, maintained by the Catholic Church, which also has a narrow budget. There is no free healthcare service in the country, so the patients have to pay for everything. This hospital provides emergency care for the poor. The power supply is not constant, it only works for a few hours a week, so so machines run in the rest of the time with generators until the gasoline runs out. This hospital was selected for its best equipment, but they have only a two-bed intensive care unit and no anesthetic machine in case of power shortage. Removal of the mentioned large tumor was performed with a manual cranial drill.
Dr. Csokay and Dr. Pataki gratefully thank the tireless help Father Isunna (Health Coordinator), Father Basil, Dr. Francis (Medical Director), the nurses instructed by him, Dr. Amara and dr. Ochukwu (residents).
The goal of the Action for Defenceless People Foundation is to provide continuous and free local neurosurgery care, which is not yet available in Nigeria. It would be extremely necessary because many patients do not have the chance to pay for the tests and the interventions, so they are already in a severe state. In spite of this, the faith in healing is exemplary both in the population and in the hospital staff. The plastic surgery missions would take two weeks in the future with these kind of special operations.
The missionary activity also includes the training of local doctors, two of whom, due to the 2017 summer visit of the two Hungarian physicians, decided to carry out similar surgeries in the future, contributing to improving the life expectancy of tens of thousands of people in need.
Dr. Csokay and Dr. Pataki’s Nigerian visit required not only to buy complex medical supplies on the Foundation’s own account but also to purchase essential supplies such as scissors, forceps, suture materials and bandages. During the long operation days, free meals were given to the local health care staff, which works for unimaginably low amount of money.
This help is like “drop in the ocean”. It may not be enough to change the whole world, but it is certain that for many people the world has really changed thanks to the work of the Foundation in the recent years.
From anyone who feels that they can contribute to this by any amount of money, we accept the donations gratefully to continue our missions, to accomplish the above goals. Help us to help!
Cselekvés a Kiszolgáltatottakért Alapítvány (Action For Defenceless People Foundation)