Mission Focus: Philippines 2013 – Pinpointed Surgery

April 02, 2013

As medical care needs of the poor across the globe continue to rise, the World Surgical Foundation’s work never ceases. Once the larger mission in Coron, Palawan was complete, Drs. Domingo and Veneranda Alvear along with a contingent of local Filipino physicians headed to Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao for WSF’s 2nd Annual Pull-through Mission in the Philippines on 6 – 8 March 2013.

This mission was sponsored locally by the Philippine College of Surgeons chapter in Northern Mindanao at the Xavier University Community Health Care Center. Because of the complexities and follow-up care needed for the procedures, WSF can only hold these missions in geographically desirable areas with adequate medical facilities and available specialists. Again, collaboration is the key.

Pull-through missions focus primarily on Hirschsprung’s disease and anorectal malformations/imperforate anus. Anorectal malformations occur once in every 4,500 live births and many of these defects can be corrected at birth or soon after. But in the Philippines sometimes all that can be done to save a child’s life is performing a colostomy. And these children are why the World Surgical Foundation exists. By holding these focused missions, WSF is able to completely change lives. Instead of staying home or being ashamed because they have a colostomy, children can go on to lead happy, normal lives.

WSF was able to help 16 patients including 2 young adults aged 19 and 26 who now have a second chance at life without a colostomy. In addition to teaching new techniques or showing how to correctly use a Peña Muscle Stimulator for detecting the location of the anus, Dr. Alvear also performed a rather uncommon procedure called a colon interposition. By taking a section of the colon and using it to bridge a gap between the esophagus and the stomach, Dr. Alvear was able to give this 1-year-old patient a working digestive system thus saving him from a lifetime of tube feedings.

If you haven’t already, read Jennifer’s Blog entries for more stories and in-depth interviews about the Philippines 2013 Mission in Coron.

Next stop for the World Surgical Foundation is Honduras in September 2013.