Complex Surgical Mission

Complex Surgical Mission

Comprising of two weeks of surgery and two months of medical support, the Complex Surgical Mission comprises of 20 medical volunteers from around Europe giving life changing surgery to 45 patients with severe facial disfigurements. Each volunteer raises £1,000 to take part as well as giving two weeks of their annual leave for the project.

Throughout the year, our outreach team pro-actively engages with rural communities in an effort to find individuals with severe facial deformities. This involves travelling far and wide to villages spread out amongst hills and mountains. These are often difficult-to-reach areas. The patients suffer from a range of conditions including, burns, animal attacks, noma or medical conditions which have developed far beyond anything that would be experienced in the UK, as they grow to dangerous proportions. There is a lack of understanding within the villages as to what these inflictions are or how to deal with them. This has led to attempted treatments by local healers where growths or wounds are burnt, often furthering the damage. This makes the treatments we provide, including the surgery, complicated - hence the term 'Complex Mission'.

Towards the end of April each year, all our potential patients, normally around 60 people, are brought to a Cheshire Menagesha Rehabilitation Centre close to Addis Ababa where they will stay periods of 2-6 weeks while they undergo pre-operative assessments, treatments and care. All patients also stay here after being discharged from hospitals, to undergo much-needed post-operative care. The first members of our medical team spend three weeks before the surgery creating medical reports on each of the patients. Full medical histories are taken and tests various tests administered, scans are taken and oral hygiene is given to reduce the risk of post-operation infection. Everyone’s diet is carefully monitored, high calorie meals are given to build up patients’ strength as some suffer from malnutrition.

After two weeks of preparation the main surgical team arrives, an intensive two weeks of operating takes place. Up to six surgeries take place a day with two teams operating at the Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa. The opportunity is used to build the capacity of the local surgeons, as they work alongside the Project Harar volunteers.  Post-surgery, patients return to the care home where they receive continued support from nurses for up to six weeks after their operation before they are discharged with their guardians back to their homes.


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