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Over the last few months we’ve once again witnessed the fragile nature of the world we live in. With Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and the recent and devastating earthquakes in Nepal, thousands of lives have been lost and even more people left homeless and without access to the basic essentials needed for everyday life. According to the World Health Organisation many injuries will be severe enough to threaten long-term functional impairment and disability if not managed correctly.
We’ve seen time and time again the vulnerability of our neighbours in developing countries to natural disasters, and the terrible truth is that they aren’t equipped with the infrastructure, skills or resources to cope in these situations.
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An Interplast team have recently returned from Nepal where they spent eight days assisting our local partners in Kathmandu with earthquake recovery efforts.
While Interplast is not a humanitarian response organisation, our approach is very much based on responding to local needs. Our team of volunteers travelled to Nepal to assist and mentor local surgeons in effectively treating people who have complex trauma injuries and require surgery.
That’s why the work of Interplast is so vital. Through our ‘twin-track’ approach we focus on giving patients access to life-changing medical procedures that they would otherwise not be able to afford while building the capacity of local medical staff through a range of formal and informal training and mentoring activities.
Laxmi is a 35 year old mother of two sons aged 13 and 16 who was cooking lunch for the family when the first earthquake began. She tried to flee her home but the walls collapsed onto her right leg. This was severely damaged requiring her to be transferred to the local army hospital for treatment.
Laxmi was transferred to Kitipur Hospital for reconstruction of her right leg. She had significant tissue loss and required tissue, veins and arteries to be removed from her forearm using the microscope. This required the delicate work of two Nepalese and two Interplast plastic surgeons to successfully complete this procedure.
Laxmi will require rehabilitation to get her strength back so she can walk again. Her family are currently living in tents as theirs was completely destroyed by the earthquake.
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Follow the team’s journey in Nepal
The team’s stories from Nepal are remarkable and are evidence of the resilience of the Nepalese people, who, after losing everything, continue to stay positive. The commitment of our local medical colleagues in Nepal, many of whom were also personally effected by the disaster, is a testament to their immeasurable generosity and sense of community. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing these stories with you. For more, keep your eye on our latest news.