By Eleanor Hartley
Landing in Accra weary eyed and jet lagged, a team of renowned doctors, nurses and volunteers from all corners of the world carry an almighty cargo of medical supplies, food and donations on a five hour drive to the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti region to begin the incredible journey of providing FREE Reconstructive Surgery to people in Ghana.
Returning to the home country of Dr. Michael K. Obeng, the RESTORE foundation’s goal is to Restore Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts (R.E.S.T.O.R.E.). Over the next 5 days, 20 volunteers including 6 surgeons will dedicate their intricate skills and time to support the most vulnerable patients and educate the communities in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Working from Kumasi’s FIRSTCARE Hospital, the team began the complex screening process of over 70 patients hoping to RESTORE their lives. From abnormalities, accidents and disease the team must select the patients most appropriate for surgery which means ruling out those who may require extensive follow-up care which the Ghanaian healthcare system might not be able to support.
Hearing the stories of the patients and their families opens our eyes to how lucky we are to have access to developed healthcare systems and health education. Gruelling hours of screening, misdiagnosed cancers, untreated tumours and severe skin burns, the team were able to select 51 patients thus far for surgery. 16 patients confirmed for surgery tomorrow.
Juggling 60 additional screening consultations and 16 complex reconstructive operations, day two will bring with it more challenge, more emotions and, God willing, more success!
It is with the collaborative effort of a dedicated team who have come together from all walks of life that we are able to provide change for this wonderfully diverse and gracious community.
As the team sits together for our evening meal, we reflect on the first day of our mission. With hungry stomachs and humble hearts we count our blessings and thank the universe for our health, our happiness and this incredible opportunity to change the lives and empower this wonderful community.
So for those wondering what the RESTORE team is doing here in Ghana, our answer stands united – whatever it takes.
-Written by Eleanor Hartley
Submitted by Kwame Boakye Danquah.
Special thanks to Eleanor Hartley for her submission and King Publishing for their help with this feature.