Mobile Surgery International – A New Model for Humanitarian Surgical Care

By: Bruce G. Kreeger

In December 2015,Ā a new model for humanitarian surgical care for cleft lip and cleft palate (CLP) patients was envisioned by Jerry Moyes, Founder, Swift Transportation; Michael Nebeker, Co-FounderĀ andĀ President, Mobile Surgery International (MSI); Dr. Alex Campbell, and Dr. Carolina Restrepo, Surgeons, Premier Plastics and MSI Chief Medical Officers and Board Members. Design work for a Mobile Surgical Hospital began in 2016,Ā and in the aftermath of the deadly 7.2 magnitude Mexico earthquake in September 2017, MSI deployed the newly manufactured three-unit mobile surgical hospital to Cuernavaca to serve as an earthquake disaster relief hospital. Now, we serve diverse Mexican and indigenous communities throughout Oaxaca, theĀ most impoverishedstate in Mexico. MSI delivers sustainable, free, comprehensive surgical care to all children who suffer needlessly throughout Mexico with untreated CLP and other neglected surgical conditions.Ā MSI has beenĀ working closely with the Ministry of Health and local civil societies to perfect a model for low-income environments worldwide.Ā 

MSI employs a team of local Oaxacan medical professionals who receive education and advanced training from Mexican and foreign surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, prosthodontists, orthodontists, speech therapists,Ā and psychological counselors. Over the next ten years,Ā MSI will eliminate the backlog of an estimated 20,000 cases of untreated CLP deformities and sub-optimal surgical outcomes throughout Mexico (2,000Ā in Oaxaca). MSI provides comprehensive care twelve months per year, which consists of: transportation assistance, food and shelter, maternal and child nutrition, pre-operativeĀ nasoalveolarĀ molding (NAM), surgical repair of CLP, ear, nose & throat abnormalities, dental care, orthodontics, speech therapy, and psychological counseling. The mobile surgical hospital moves from region to region every two years,Ā eliminating the backlog of neglected surgical conditions while advocating and strengthening surgical systems and building surgical capacity so the backlog never returns.Ā 

Karla Before Surgery showing severe bi-lateral cleft lip facial deformity.

Karla and her Mother several years later in Oaxaca.

CLP is a genetic deformity that occurs in 1 in 600 live births in Mexico and 1 in 1,000 births in the United States. A child may be born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate or a cleft lip and cleft palate. A cleft lip occurs as a unilateral cleft and/or bilateral cleft and can affect the hard and soft palate (roof of the mouth) as a cleft palate. Clefting is exacerbated by external factors, including inhalation of smoke while cooking over a wood-burning stove in poorly ventilated structures, poor nutrition, drugs and/or alcohol, or smoking while pregnant. Living in poverty increases the likelihood of childhood deformities. Cleft patients struggle to eat and drink properly, speak, go to school, work, and have families. They are often shunned and ostracized to live hopelessly with their heavily stigmatized disability. Our patients and their families in Mexico desperately seek an advocate to permeate the barriers set forth by their existing conditions.

Mexico’s current population is 127 million people and encompasses communities with enormous economic disparities. While Mexico’s economy is now ranked 15th globally, an estimated 33 percent of Mexicans live in moderate poverty, and nine percent live in extreme poverty. This population cohort of 53 million has limited or no healthcare access and faces catastrophic health expenditures due to surgery and anesthesia care payment. The poorest people live in the five southernmost states of Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero, Chiapas, Tabasco, and the world’s largest slum on Mexico City’s outskirts. In Oaxaca, 75 percent of the 4 million citizens live in poverty, 25 percent live in abject poverty on $1 per day, 18 percent live with disabilities, and 4 percent live without electricity. Without heroic, sustainable efforts to reach children and adults suffering from facial deformities and other neglected surgical conditions, these people face lives of misery and despair, malnutrition, and early death.

Clarity Technologies Group, LLC is proud to be the MSP (Managed Service Provider) for MSI, having provided all of the onboard technologies in the Mobile Hospital.

Bruce G. Kreeger, President of Clarity, is the CTO and a proud Board Member of MSI. He has traveled to Mexico to personally supervise the installation of all IT systems in use and assist in hospital preparation for service.

For more information about MSI and or to contribute to this very worthy effort, please visit .

Call Clarity at 800-354-4160 today or email us at [email protected]. We are partnered internationally around the globe and we are open seven days a week 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST/EDT. and

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