The Volta Region of Ghana receives an unprecedented number of free reconstructive surgeries through the R.E.S.T.O.R.E Foundation

Last month the Foundation for Reconstructive Surgery established a record high for 174 life-altering interventions in Ho, Ghana, first time in its 14 years of operation.

The Volta Region of Ghana welcomed the R.E.S.T.O.R.E. team, led by Dr. Michael K. Obeng, a world-renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

There were 33 volunteers in total, including seven surgeons, an internist, a general practitioner, two anaesthesiologists, a nurse anaesthetist, a physician assistant, two surgical nurses, three surgical technologists, and four registered nurses.

The mission saw over 200 patients being transformed including 174 lives being impacted predominantly through surgical operations, dental tooth extractions and chiropractic skeletal manipulations. In a span of two days, the team screened more than 500 patients from all walks of life and from different parts of the country. In just four and a half days, a record-breaking 135 procedures were completed. This surpasses the previous record of 111 surgeries completed in Dakar, Senegal in December 2021.

This dedicated and compassionate group of individuals from various backgrounds came together in Ghana, coming from the United States, UK, Germany, Mali, Senegal, and Ghana.

This selfless endeavour had a positive influence on the entire country, and the team’s lasting impression on the Voltarians and Ghanaians as a whole is immeasurable.

Dr. John Tampuori, the CEO of Ho Teaching Hospital and a urologist by training, was ecstatic. “I was a little dubious when the R.E.S.T.O.R.E team told me about their ambitious goal of 120 procedures, but they accomplished it”, he said.

The North Tongu Constituency Member of Parliament, Honourable Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, also expressed his sincere gratitude to the point of joyful tears after seeing for himself how the lives that were transformed.

“Whether or not I am in office, I will make sure that the R.E.S.T.O.R.E team visits this region every single year, I want to see my people happy”, says Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa

The Ho Teaching Hospital and the community at large, were delighted to see Hon. Ablakwa so intimately involved with the R.E.S.T.O.R.E mission to the Volta Region.

“I’m delighted to see that a good number of our compatriots beyond the Volta Region also benefited. Okudzeto Ablakwa continued, “Dr. Obeng and the R.E.S.T.O.R.E team have our eternal gratitude”.

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Michael K. Obeng said, “I know we can do better as a country. Most of Ghana’s natural resources are yet undeveloped, and the country is home to some of the most brilliant minds. This nation is very wealthy, and our people ought to have better access to healthcare. Health is wealth because a healthy nation is a wealthy nation”.

The team performed various degrees of surgeries on life-threatening conditions.

There was a preponderance of thyroid related diseases (goitres), gigantic facial tumours, the usual burn scar deformities causing functional impairment as well as unprecedented number of ambiguous genitalia which carries with it social stigmatisation that has sadly prompted most of these subsets of patients contemplating suicide.

The first procedure of its kind in the region was successfully completed by the team on Wednesday, October 12. A true intersex (hermaphrodite) 19-year-old who was raised and has lived her entire life as a girl underwent this procedure.

Another major procedure executed by the team was a hemi-maxillectomy, followed by reconstruction on an elderly woman with tumour engulfing half of her face.

A tumour that had wrapped around the cranial nerves 11 and 12 as well as the common carotid artery at its bifurcation was successfully removed from an 11-year-old kid by the team; local surgeons had twice attempted the procedure but with futility failed due to the vital structures indicated above.

The team also successfully removed a 3-kg goitre that had been present for 31 years in a 60-year-old woman who had been shunned by her family. Otolaryngologist Col. Dr. Cheikh Ahmedou Lame from L’Hopital du Dakar in Senegal led this intricate series of surgeries. He was thrilled to say the least.

Dr. Paa Ekow Hoyte-Williams of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, who serves as the R.E.S.T.O.R.E team’s Director of Medical Affairs, was very pleased with the mission’s accomplishment as well as the safety precautions the team had put in place to guard against any catastrophes.

“All these were life transforming surgeries and it is an amazing initiative because all these have been done at no cost to the patients”, he said.

This mission also saw a large member of German volunteers led by Dr. Mehmet Atila of Medical Inn in Düsseldorf Germany.

In addition to the above-mentioned surgeons, this trip included a superb group of surgeons; Col Dr. Raccine Kane, Professor and Head of Urology of L’Hopital de Dakar, Senegal, Dr Dembele, Chief of Plastic Surgery in Mali dubbed by the team ‘The Machine’ for his surgical prowess, as well as Dr Marco from Germany.

The team worked an average of 15 hours per day and is eagerly anticipating their upcoming assignment in Cameroon in February 2023.

In closing remarks., the leader of the team Dr Obeng expressed his gratitude to the people of the Volta Region. Dr. John Tampuori and the Ho Teaching Hospital, and Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa for his support.

This trip wouldn’t have been this successful without contribution from the Volta Serene Hotel, Mr. Yaw Boakye of Westone Limited, Ghana, Nana Kwame Bediako (Freedom Jacob Caesar) of Belair Crest Hotel in Accra and one of R.E.S.T.O.R.E’s biggest contributors Ms. Feysan Lodde of MV Transportation in the United States.

Ms Dawn M. Sutherland, the Director of International Relations at R.E.S.T.O.R.E, an expat from the United States was lost for words regarding the immense success of this mission.

She expressed her wish that more benevolent Ghanaians and businesses should join this wonderful effort to provide desperately needed aid to our own “backyards”. “Whatever you do, when you see someone that doesn’t look good, know that they can be transformed,” she said.

Ms Sutherland further commended the Ho Teaching Hospital’s management and personnel for maintaining the facilities in impeccable condition and for their dedication during the mission. “We have visited many hospitals, but this one was by far the best,” she added.

Dr. Michael K. Obeng acknowledged the myriad of individuals working behind the scenes whose tireless efforts made it possible this to be R.E.S.T.O.R.E’s biggest mission ever. He also mentioned the remarkable contributions made over the years by Ms. Penelope M. Jones-Mensah, an attorney, socialite, and philanthropist from Ghana.

The majority of the team members returned to their hectic lives without skipping a beat after departing from Ghana. They are ecstatic to do it once more and incredibly proud of themselves and their spirit of perseverance as they chant their slogan, #whateverittakes.

About R.E.S.T.O.R.E Worldwide Inc.; The Foundation for Reconstructive Surgery

R.E.S.T.O.R.E is an acronym that stands for Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts.  It is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit medical service organisation that provides free reconstructive surgery and related medical services to children and adults with disfiguring deformities from birth, accidents and diseases involving not only the head and neck region, but also the extremities, trunk, and breast. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. Michael K. Obeng, a plastic surgeon, a humanitarian, and a global health strategist. As part of its mission, R.E.S.T.O.R.E also educates and trains local medical professionals on the latest techniques and safety measures in plastic and reconstructive surgery, effecting change long after the R.E.S.T.O.R.E team departs.

For more information or media enquiries, please contact Phindile Nxumalo on +27 71 787 7002 or email [email protected]

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