Just a little boy in Africa had a tumor in the roof of his mouth. It blocked his airway, and he struggled to breathe. His household took him to a number of docs, however none might assist him. He returned residence in peril of suffocating.

Then a hospital ship referred to as Africa Mercy arrived, and a fleet of docs, nurses, and different employees from round the world steadily got here on board. Among them was the surgeon who would save the little boy’s life.


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Mark Shrime, MD, PhD, handled the youngster in an working room aboard the ship. He and his group eliminated the boy’s tumor and reconstructed his taste bud. Just a couple of weeks later, he acquired a photograph of the baby holding an indication that stated, “Hi Mark. I’m all better.”

“That picture is amazing,” Shrime says. It’s a souvenir he’s held onto.

Shrime is the analysis director of Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change. He’s additionally a volunteer surgeon for Mercy Ships, a charity that gives free surgical procedures to numerous individuals in Africa who can’t afford or don’t have entry to expert medical assist.

The drawback isn’t restricted to at least one continent, although. It’s international.

Conditions that could possibly be handled with operations make up near one-third of illnesses in the world, Shrime says. “And yet 5 billion people around the world can’t get surgery.”

Quality health look after all is the theme of World Health Day on April 7. And it’s a mission for Mercy Ships and different charity teams that make a distinction in nations the place treatable health issues can flip lethal with out surgical procedure.