The aim of Operation Childlife is to provide surgical procedures in developing countries while training the local doctors and nurses on how best to deliver effective results for themselves when we are not present. This means there is a steady transfer of skills from us to them and vice versa.
Located in South East Asia and with a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. Operation Childlife offer their support to Hospital No. 2, located in Ho Chi Minh City.
The overall quality of health in Vietnam is regarded as good and as of 2009 life expectancy is 76 for women and 72 for men. In Ireland the comparative figures are 81.6 years for women and 76.8 years for men.
More concerning however is the infant mortality rate which in Vietnam is 12 per 1,000 births compared to 3.5 in Ireland.
While the Irish health sector is often open to criticism due to lack of financial resource government spending as a percentage of GDP in Ireland is 6.9% compared to just 0.9% in Vietnam. This suggests that the healthcare sector in Vietnam is being significantly underfunded and this undoubtedly has an impact on infant mortality rates.
Located in central East Africa and bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to the south.
As of 2006, the estimated population is 38,329,000, with an estimated growth rate of 2 percent.
The overall quality of health in Tanzania is poor which is confirmed by the fact that the under-five mortality rate in 2006 was 118 out of 1,000. Life expectancy at birth in 2006 was 50 years. The 15-60 year old adult mortality rate in 2006 was 518 out of 1,000 males and 493 out of 1,000 females.
The need for our expertise is therefore great and we commenced operations in 2008 and have focused our efforts to date to upgrade the local surgical oncology service by direct hands-on training. The focus is to provide surgical anaesthetic skills to effectively and safely resection complex paediatric solid tumours such as Wilms tumour. Our ambition is to help establish a complete oncology program and upskill all members of the oncology team from pathology, radiology, oncology and surgery. The program is in Tanzania at the specific request of Dr Patricia Scanlon, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist who has worked in Dar es Salaam for the past 6 years. We have recently been supported by Children in Crossfire and hope to have their help for the next three years.
Following the great advances we have supported in Vietnam it is our objective to ensure our up-skilling can make a positive impact on the people in Tanzania.
The team headed by Professor Corbally were in Tanzania in July 2011 where they worked to upskill the surgical teams in Mhimbili National Hospital Dar es Salaam in the surgical and anaesthetic management of paediatric solid tumours. We signed a MOU with Children in Crossfire (Tanzania) to provide support from 2011-2013. Since thyen we have made a number of trips to Muhumbili Hospital, including oncology, oncological surgery, urology and other surgical specialties.
We hope to start a clinical relationship with Angkor Children’s Hospital in Cambodia in 2017. This will consist of a small OCL general surgical team. We will go out and assist the local team in their surgical work, get to know them, see their capabilities and let them know ours. Hopefully our clinical relationship will develop to the point where we can help them with more complex surgery afterwards.