Global Medical and Surgical Teams (GMAST) hit the ground running in 2019 and we’d like to pause briefly and tell you what’s been going on.
First, thank you! Without our supporters and volunteers, we could not have accomplished our goals. During our Spring Uganda 2019 trip, we were able to return to Kyotera and provide follow up care to patients we had treated in 2018 as well as treat new patients. This type of ongoing commitment to a community is important for sustainability. We were also able to work with Dr. Katwiire, the medical director at Kyotera Medical Centre to identify a Ugandan surgeon to be trained in cleft lip and palate surgery. This is a crucial step in sustainability as well. Education is one of our overarching goals and we learn from those who live and work in the communities we are assisting and the local medical staff can learn from us as well.
That brings me to our big news–the cleft program at Kyotera Medical Centre has been Smile Train approved! This partnership will ensure high quality ongoing care and will allow the facility to make improvements in infrastructure, and to expand access to cleft surgery to the larger community. During our trip in March, we saw several adults who had lived with cleft lip and or palate deformities for as long as 45 years! It is best to treat cleft lip around 3 months of age and cleft palate around 12 months of age, enabling children to grow and develop with the best results from both a functional (speech, swallowing) and cosmetic standpoint. The lack of specialized surgical care in many countries, including Uganda, means that many patients with treatable surgical diagnoses suffer, become disabled or even die unnecessarily. GMAST is committed to improving access to surgical care.
Finally, we were very pleased with how iTriage, our new mobile electronic medical record (EMR), functioned during the March trip. We will continue to develop and expand this product and share it with other nonprofits.
Looking forward, in 2019 we plan to introduce a portal on our website for potential volunteers to submit “interest forms” and for us to build a network of volunteers for future projects.
Again, it takes a village to do the work that we do. You who read about us, share our information with your friends, donate money and/or time to change lives of people you may never meet–you are our heroes and we are very grateful to walk along side you.
Staying true to our mission: “Global Medical and Surgical Teams partners with medical and surgical staff around the world to serve patients and foster healing. We work through medical and surgical missions, education, training, technology and donor relationships to provide specialized medical and surgical care in underprivileged areas.”