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WPP kickstarts 2023 with General Surgical Mission

January 17, 2023

The World Paediatric (WPP) has kickstarted 2023 with a general surgery mission.

A release from the WPP said 31 children were seen during a clinic on Sunday, January 8, and 12 were scheduled for surgery during the week following.

Of the total number of patients seen, six were from St Lucia, one came from Dominica and one was from Grenada; the others were from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

WPP Paediatric general surgeon, Dr. Jeff Lukish said he was excited to be back with his team and they are happy and committed to the work they do.

He added that it took no convincing to be here and assist the children, many of whose conditions were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic break.

He expressed immense gratitude to be able to meet the need, as well as to add a new surgical procedure this year due to the donation of some new, specialised equipment.

“The first year we saw some children with a very common chest wall deformity, called pectus-excavatum where the child’s chest wall is significantly dented in. This is a severe deformity, which is very stigmatizing for a child, causing them to not want to ever take their shirt off around their peers,” the general surgeon said.

WPP 1-23 Gen Surg Team MCF

“We are thrilled to now be able to repair those right here in St. Vincent”. The donation came from a company in Washington D.C., Zimmer Biomed, with further donated instrumentation from Capital US Surgical. The additional travelling team members on this first mission comprised anaesthesiologist, Dr. Tae Kim, and OR nurse, Sheree Dyer, who worked in collaboration with local surgeon, Dr. Jasmine Ellis- Davy and team members of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

The WPP said this first mission was very special for several families particularly those who had travel challenges. The situation of one family from Saint Lucia was so desperate, that they paid a fishing boat $2500 to get to mainland, St. Vincent for lifesaving medical intervention for their child.

A few other families spoke of the challenges getting flights to SVG to receive the well-needed medical attention. Executive director for WPP Caribbean, Lauren McIntosh-Shallow said they are excited for the year ahead, and thanked the Mustique Charitable Foundation who she said has made it possible for Vincentian children to afford care and surgeries. She said that the regional families have encountered a bit of a challenge, so it really is a collaborative effort to make it possible.

Other missions expected during this year will include teams for speech therapy later this month, a cardiology diagnostic team, and a multi-disciplinary ophthalmology and plastic surgery team in February.

McIntosh said the WPP also plans to unveil and roll out a number of diagnostic clinics in neighbouring islands this year.

“This will facilitate and ease the process for many of our regional families, allowing quicker triage and identification of surgical patients. From there, qualified cases will either come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the surgery or be referred outside the country for more complicated cases,” she explained.

The speech therapy Mission is slated for January, 28 to Feb 1.