Dr. William Taylor, International Board Member and Education Chairperson, participated in a mission trip to Nairobi, Kenya in 2012 sponsored by NuVasive Spine Foundation™ (NSF). The five member U.S. Mission Team’s objective was to transfer knowledge to local surgeons of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and provide life-changing spine surgery to patients in need. KNH is a large university hospital that consistently houses over 2000 patients. The hospital has 50 wards, 22 out-patient clinics, 24 theatres (16 specialized), and an Accident & Emergency Dept. The U.S. Team along with five local Kenyan surgeons and 5-10 residents gathered in a small room and triaged 52 patients in one day. After the U.S. Team performed 3 days of surgery for 36 hours in the OR using 11 cages and 84 screws on 12 patients, they taught the Kenya Team surgical techniques to help continue their education and development. The trip was successful and gave the KNH patients a new chance at life.
There are global challenges in many of the world’s most demanding regions. Some areas simply need assistance with medical facilities recovering from natural disasters, and assistance with water management; water sanitation and purification. The question then becomes how can SMISS help in tackling these needs.
Currently, we are working towards developing a SMISS Global Aid Program to support similar efforts and assist regional spine centers in becoming more self-sufficient, in various countries throughout the world, staffed by local physicians providing patient care with problems affecting the spine. The challenge is resources. Many spine centers need volunteers of all kinds including medical professionals to provide free professional medical services, assist in training, and deliver donated medicine; equipment and supplies.