Every year, a group of medical volunteers fly out to Ethiopia to provide life-changing surgery for 50 patients. The surgical mission begins with two weeks of pre-surgery assessments, two weeks of surgery and up to two months of recovery. 

Throughout the year, our outreach team proactively engages with rural communities to identify individuals with severe facial disfigurements. This involves travelling far and wide in often difficult-to-reach areas. The patients we find suffer from a range of conditions not often found in the UK. These include tumours, animal attacks, noma and other severe facial disfigurements which are often treated with local remedies making them significantly worse. 

Around 60 potential patients arrive in February for pre-surgery assessment in Addis Ababa. During this stage of the mission our patients received initial assessments from a team of doctors, nurses and dietitians to assess suitability for surgery. Full medical histories, tests, scans, and oral hygiene investigations as well as nutritional assessment are carried out. 

After an initial two weeks of assessments the main medical team arrives in Addis Ababa and an intense two-week operative stage takes place. The team comprises surgeons, doctors, nurses and anaesthetists from the UK, France, Hong Kong, USA and Ethiopia. 

Post-surgery, patients recover at Cheshire Services, just north of Addis, where they receive support from nurses and doctors before they are discharged. The care at Cheshire ensures patients stay infection free and recover properly from their surgery before returning home. But it’s also an opportunity for our patients to relax and play.

Read more about our previous surgical mission here and take a look at our video: