Daktari: A Surgeon's Adventures with the Flying Doctors of East Africa
In 1957 three plastic surgeons--Sir Archibald McIndoe, Dr. Michael Wood, and Dr. Thomas D. Rees, the sole surviving founder--began what was then called ?The Flying Doctors Service of Africa.? These surgeons devoted the full measure of their collective time, energy, and creativity to make their vision a reality: to bring specialist surgical care to Africa?s most remote areas and improve the lives of children and families who, through no fault of their own, experience extreme suffering and disfigurement. They were the first to bring reconstructive surgery to East Africa utilizing light airplanes and itinerant surgeons who would use their expertise to treat victims of burns, congenital deformities, trauma, animal bites, cancer, and deformities resulting from endemic tropical diseases.With experience, and responding to the overwhelming health needs of the rural population and urban poor, the parameters of what became the Flying Doctor Services of East Africa evolved to include public health, environmental medicine, training and education of health care workers, nomadic health care, and emergency medical response. Today, the Flying Doctors of East Africa through it?s parent organization, the African Medical Research and Education Foundation (AMREF) is the largest indigenous international health development non-governmental organization in sub-Sahara Africa operating in nine African countries with a full-time staff of over 600, 96% of whom are of African origin. The Flying Doctor Services of East Africa has evacuated over 50,000 emergency patients from the bush to urban hospitals. It has flown over 12 million miles, and performed more than 50,000 major operations.The dream of the three founding surgeons has become a reality.
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