Approximately 100 Arequipa, Peru area children with facial deformities will be eligible to have those deformities surgically repaired free of charge by an elite medical team of American doctors and nurses who will be in Peru from May 5th to May 14th, 2004.
The medical team is being sent to Peru by Children's Surgery International (CSI), a non-profit organization from the United States devoted to repairing facial deformities of children in developing countries. A CSI medical team performed 84 surgeries in Peru during an initial familiarization mission last year.
The 39 member CSI team that is coming to Arequipa in May will include ear, nose and throat surgeons, plastic surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, a dentist, nurses, a speech pathologist, a child development specialist and a biomedical technician.
The surgeries will be provided free of charge to Peruvian children who are examined by the medical team and judged healthy enough to undergo surgery (no other serious medical conditions).
All of the CSI team members are volunteers and none of them are paid to perform this work. Doctors and nurses use their own personal vacation time to participate in the mission.
Doctors from Honorio Delgado Hospital and doctors from the Juliaca area have already pre-screened over 140 children for the CSI team to screen again on May 6 and May 7th. Children selected for surgery will be bused from the Juliaca area to Arequipa where the surgeries will take place in Honorio Delgado.
The surgeries will take place from Saturday, May 8th through Thursday, May 13th. CSI physicians will also provide local doctors with training in the latest surgical techniques.
Support members of the team will include a photographer and two American high school students whose school has raised funds to pay for almost half the cost of the mission.
Many of the children who become patients will receive personal letters and photos from students in the United States who have raised funds to help pay for the surgeries by holding dances, games, car washes and other activities. News and photos of the mission in Arequipa will be posted on the CSI website (childrenssurgeryintl.org) daily.
CSI Youth Coordinator and board member Peggy Fairbourne says that these American school children are "very excited about watching the progress of the mission on the internet and to get to know the Peruvian children who undergo surgery that will change their faces and their lives." The story of last year's mission to Peru is already on the CSI web site in English and Spanish, Fairbourne explains.
Children's Surgery International is a Minnesota based non-profit volunteer organization whose focus is to serve the underprivileged of the world by providing specialized medical and surgical services in a safe, compassionate and culturally sensitive manner and to promote in-country self-sufficiency through professional training and support. Its primary focus is cleft lip and cleft palate.
Arequipa, the capital of the departamento, is the most important city of southern Peru. It stands at the foot of the snow-capped volcano El Misti. Arequipa has many fine colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock used extensively in the construction of the city, from which it gets its nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("the white city"). The city is located at an altitude of 2,380 meters in the Peruvian Andes.