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Bringing Quality Surgical Care to Patients in Nicaragua

  • August 20, 2014

A surgical team from New Orleans Medical Mission Services (NOMMS) traveled to Nicaragua, performing more than 30 successful surgeries with the support of AmeriCares and corporate donor, Cardinal Health.

Since 2001, NOMMS, a nonprofit organization, has conducted 24 surgical missions to Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Honduras, completing hundreds of surgeries and thousands of consultations with the help of in-kind donations of medicines and medical supplies. AmeriCares Medical Outreach program supported the trip with a shipment of surgical packs donated by Cardinal Health.

The surgical packs enabled the medical team, led by co-founder Dr. Thomas Kennedy, to perform a wide range of surgeries, from knee replacement to gynecological operations.  

Prior to AmeriCares donation, NOMMS volunteer nurses had to compile surgical packs from potential discard materials gathered at hospitals where they worked and find a facility willing to sterilize the packs. The rising cost of gas sterilization was making it more difficult for NOMMS to prepare the packs in time for its missions.   

 Photo Courtesy of: NOMMS

 “We are so grateful for this donation,” explained Dr. Kennedy. “Our problems with surgical packs have all but disappeared. It allows us to focus on other aspects of the mission.”

For patients living in the impoverished communities served by the NOMMS teams, the surgeries can be life-changing, bringing quality specialty care that would be otherwise unaffordable.

“We know that the patients who are helped are thankful. One woman started singing when she saw us arriving,” he said. “More people chimed in until the entire crowd of about 70 people were singing, welcoming us. They were so excited about the possibility of getting the care they needed. We are humbled by your generosity.”

Dr. Thomas’s medical team is one of hundreds that travel to impoverished communities around the world each year supported by AmeriCares Medical Outreach program. The program donates medicines and medical products to skilled, U.S.-based volunteer medical teams traveling to countries where even basic health care is unavailable or unaffordable. In fiscal year 2013, our Medical Outreach Program provisioned 1,111 volunteer medical teams with more than $41.2 million in medical and surgical supplies traveling to 76 countries. Learn about the Medical Outreach program here.

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