Health Care Volunteers International
Surgery performed by Dr. Frank Duggan on a patient in Loita, Kenya where resources are extremely limited.
The woman shown had a very large benign mass on her back that was causing her great discomfort, particularly when sleeping, and a degree of embarrassment due to its cosmetic appearance. Proper negative pressure drains were not available but supplies on hand were able to be employed to produce the same result. The standard approach to anesthesia was modified, battery-powered electrocautery was used, and lighting came from flashlights and headlamps because there was no electricity. Despite these challenges a favorable outcome was able to be achieved.
Patient Care broadly encompasses the treatment of patients with medical, surgical, dental, and ophthalmological disease. This is accomplished through the coordination of volunteer healthcare providers who attend patients in the communities in which HCVI is engaged.
We are committed to bringing the highest level of care possible for our patients. We work with local providers and have developed partnerships with other nonprofit organizations to enhance and optimize delivery of healthcare in the settings where we work. Teams vary in size and composition, as do the environments in which they deliver care.
There can be significant differences in practice settings. Performing surgery at the National Pediatric Hospital (NPH) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for example, although with its challenges, is dramatically different from delivering care in the Masai Mara of Kenya. The NPH is a fairly modern facility. Contrast this to operating in the Masai Mara, where there are not only equipment and supply challenges, but one operates by flashlight and headlamp because there is no electricity. Despite stark conditions, a bit of ingenuity paired with a commitment to patient safety and successful outcomes can overcome obstacles one would never consider in the developed world (see below).