Medical Missions for Children is a Massachusetts based non-profit organization that dispatches teams of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and nurses to the most remote and underprivileged communities in the developing world. MMFC’s focus is the surgical care of cleft lip and palate deformities, severe burn injuries, microtia (absence of the outer ear), head/neck tumors, and dental disease.
ENT’s participation is not just financial. Founded by our colleague Dr. Dennis Snyder of Scituate Massachusetts retired from ENT Specialists, Inc. to focus his efforts more fully to MMFC in the field and as a Member of the Board.
From the Boston Globe: “Medical Missions for Children has approximately 375 volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, medical and dental specialists, and nurses taking turns making about 20 trips a year all over the world. Dr. Snyder travels regularly for the organization. He performs surgery on children with a variety of deformities, such as cleft palate, cleft lip and thyroid conditions that he said "are every bit as much a problem now as before, if not more; it's an enormous problem.”
ENT Specialists, Inc. ongoing commitment.
Once again in October/November of 2023 Dr Shah and Dr. Dhingra (pictured in the center front row 2nd and 3rd from left) returned to Kigali, Rwanda on a surgical mission trip to treat endemic thyroid goiters.
“When we started the program, the country was still recovering from the aftershock of the genocide of 1994,” says Dr. Dhingra. “The task felt overwhelming and appeared almost impossible. It took us three consecutive missions over two years to get the program off the ground and create a safe enough environment for us to do our first surgery under general anesthesia.”
In Rwanda like many areas of the developing world the primary cause of goiters in the thyroid gland is iodine deficiency. (In the United States and other developed nations, iodine is in table salt and added to some foods as well.)
“In this area, people often think a goiter is a sign of being possessed by evil,” says otolaryngologist Dr. Ameer Shah. “A lot of young people can’t get married, have families, and lead a normal life because they’re ostracized. Large goiters can also cause serious physical complications, including swallowing and breathing issues. “A lot of these patients are laborers, and it can be taxing on them,” says Dr. Shah, “so it's a problem from a medical and a social standpoint.”
To learn more about ENT Specialists work for MMFC or to read a complete article published by Tufts University Press click here.