Report from Rwanda: Doctors Needed

A member of our staff returned today from a trip to Rwanda, Africa, where she got to check in on our partners there and see first-hand the work they do. Here’s what she had to say:

“This part of Africa is beautiful: green hills everywhere — everything is green — goats, cows and chickens just wander by the dirt road.”

“Contrasting with this beautiful scenery is the crushing poverty. Every day kids ask us for pens; all they want are pens. They wear torn, dirty clothes and shoes. People here wear American castoffs.”

I saw my first cleft surgeries in person yesterday: a great experience. I finally got to see, in person, the result of the hard work everyone puts in at Smile Train. During rounds this morning the patients looked great. One man, a forty year-old former professional athlete, barely looked like he had lived with a cleft for forty years of life just the day before.

“The cleft backlog in Rwanda is huge: many of our patients this week were adults. At least 15 of the 37 surgeries performed this week were on patients over the age of 18.

“Also, 15 patients were transported to Gitwe last night from the Kigali Operation Smile mission. The Operation Smile team screened about 500 patients in two days. They have this incredible assembly line screening process that is great to watch. You cannot imagine what screening 500 patients in two days looks like. Every time I looked outside I kept thinking that the crowd would get smaller and smaller.”

“It never did.”

“There just aren’t enough doctors here to perform
the work required.”

Everywhere Smile Train goes there are different challenges but without a doubt the biggest obstacle in Africa is the lack of qualified doctors to perform surgeries.

A donation you make today can help us train a doctor, nurse or anesthesiologist in a place that desperately needs them.

Your contribution will help change the lives of millions of children and help ensure a child born with a cleft has the same opportunities as one born without.

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