Our voluntary activity is historically focused on supporting health activities (medical examinations, prescription of clinical and instrumental examinations, prescription and administration of drugs, surgery) especially in the orthopaedic field. It is carried out through missions of an average duration of 3 weeks each, during which we make visits to health centers and reception facilities for the handicapped and destitute, bloodless medical treatments (prescription and administration of drugs, dressings, plasters, bandages), hospitalizations and surgeries.
We generally operate from Monday to Friday, and we can do on average 3-4 operations per day, for a total of about 35-40 operations for each mission. We also carry out small plastic surgery for retractive results of burns (debridements, skin flaps, muscle-cutaneous flaps), general surgery and gynaecological surgery. In order to carry out this activity we need expatriate health care personnel (doctors, nurses, technicians) to work alongside local health care personnel. As far as the type of orthopaedic surgery is concerned, we treat fractures, malformations (especially the clubfoot and severe malformations in the knees), outcomes of polio and quinine injection paralysis (which is widely used in the treatment of malaria), outcomes of burns, osteomyelitis, revision of amputation stumps, joint stiffness, vicious fracture consolidations, hip dysplasia, pseudoarthrosis, amputations and more. For about three years now we have also begun to implant shoulder and hip prostheses in Burundi, both for fractures and arthritic or dysplastic degeneration. Our surgeries are mainly aimed at children with motor handicaps and all indigent people, but they are clearly extended to anyone who needs them. For the indigent patients we treat, we also bear the costs of hospitalisation and all medical expenses. We also take care of finding and purchasing the necessary equipment (radiology equipment, surgical instruments, synthetic means), as well as the consumables (suture threads, gloves, plasters, etc.) that we need for our activity. During our missions, we collaborate profitably with local Doctors and Nurses, who are paid by us for the time they work with us, and for whom we also provide training, especially in orthopaedic surgical techniques, preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative patient care, sterilization and advanced dressing techniques, local-regional and general anaesthesia techniques, especially for pediatric patients.
Since 2015 we have also started a project in Madagascar to support school activities, aimed at the recovery of street children or in any case extremely disadvantaged children, through the renovation of existing schools or the construction of new ones, the training and updating of teachers, the payment of part of their salaries. This project stems, on the one hand, from the knowledge of the high school dropout rate of children, both for the costs not always sustainable by families and for the difficulty (especially for those living in rural areas) to reach the nearest school; on the other hand, from the observation of the low average preparation of teachers in rural schools, very often privately run, who receive absolutely inadequate compensation. 

Published on August 3, 2019                                          

Piero Petricca