Our medical team of board-certified otolaryngologists, anesthesiologists, and pathologists and their support staff of nurses, OR techs, and speech pathologists set up surgical camps in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, where we provide continuing medical education to regional ENT surgeons while treating underserved communities with free healthcare.
In 1998, Dr. Henry Farrar, the founder of Nigerian Christian Hospital, contacted Dr. James Netterville, Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Vanderbilt, requesting help to treat his severely under-served patients. In February 1999, with a team of seven including Dr. Henry Farrar, Dr. David Netterville, Dr. James Netterville, Dr. Walter Cosby, and RN Prudie Childs, we naively departed for a two-week surgical camp with no surgical supplies.Upon arrival, we were astounded at the excellent general and obstetric care being delivered in this small rural hospital with very, very limited resources. The operating theatre, with no cautery system and no continuous suction devices, was subject to constant power outages which would allow the room temperature to soar into the high 80s. To evacuate bleeding during the procedure, the surgeon, balancing on one foot, would manually activate a small foot pump, by pumping up and down on the foot pedal, creating a weak surgical suction, all the while continuing on with the delicate surgical procedure.We worked closely with Dr. Robert Whitaker, an English OB Gyn surgeon who, along with his wife Annette, had spent 25 years serving in this community.During this first trip, we performed 75 advanced head & neck surgical procedures with no cautery or suction, commonly operating with camping headlights during the frequent power outages.Throughout this experience, we developed the utmost respect for our African colleagues and all they accomplish with such limited resources. We departed with a tremendous sense of fulfillment, and a newfound purpose to return annually with a expanded team and advanced equipment and educational resources to assist these compassionate healthcare providers with their near-impossible task.More Than Medicine is predominantly based in Nashville, Tennessee, though we work with doctors from all over the United States and the world. Surgical Camps are in Malindi, Kenya; Kijabe, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; and Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria.
Coordinator Contact Information
Joanne Merriam, Associate Program Manager
Tel. (615) 322-9598
Last Updated: 04/28/2017