Last month, three members of the ReSurge Global Training Program Faculty from Stanford University traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe to provide specialty training for hand surgery.
In the developing world, the ability to use one’s hands is crucial—so many of those living in poverty use their hands on farms and in factories. Injuries to and congenital anomalies of the hands often severely limit an individual’s ability to contribute to society. Therefore, restoring hand functionality and training in hand surgery are among the most important aspects of ReSurge’s work in the developing world, as it renews one’s ability to provide for one’s self and family.
Drs. Vincent Hentz, Garet Comer and Ryan Derby, the ReSurge volunteer faculty members from Stanford, provided lectures and one-on-one surgical training in thumb duplication, finger amputations, thumb hypoplasia and other hand surgery techniques. It was our second training session this year at the University of Zimbabwe, Parirenyatwa Hospital. Local trainees included Drs. Kevin Nduku, Eugene Chikanya, and Adrian Karangura, all of whom also had been trained in March 2015 by ReSurge.
“One case that stood out was a 6-month-old with a bilateral radial longitudinal deficiency with complete thumb hypoplasia. We performed a wrist centralization on one side to improve the deformity and allow for a lateral procedure to make the index into a thumb,” wrote Dr. Comer, who performed the surgery with Dr. Nduku.
He continued, “After surgery, we shared photos of the surgical result with the mother and father [photos below]. The mom wrote us this: ’Thank you for the photos and the wonderful work that your team did, it is much appreciated. Our prayer since giving birth to baby Nathan was that he would have a chance to hold and do a lot of things that any other person is able to. 6 months later with joyful tears and grateful hearts we can say, because of you it is now possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”
The little boy’s mother was grateful that her baby now would have a chance at a normal, productive life with a better working hand. By training local doctors in such important procedures, ReSurge is working to build sustainable surgical capacity year-round –and making a lasting impact on families like baby Nathan’s.