A Canadian hears, “You need surgery”. It hits like a lightning bolt. Sharp inhales. Eyes tearing up at the thought. It is serious. Surgery means serious illness. In the end though, there is gratitude because we live where surgery is readily available, and illnesses can be resolved relatively quickly. As soon as the surgery is done, better health will follow.
A leprosy patient hears, “We can fix it with surgery”. Relief. Eyes tearing up in gratitude. There is hope for a normal life. The surgery will lead to a life with less discrimination, more opportunities, a return to community and family.
“Life-saving surgery” means something very different to the person with disease damaged hands, feet, eyes, and face. Surgery means normal looking hands, being able to walk properly and saving your sight. Surgery means being able feed yourself by holding your own spoon, being able to brush your own teeth, and doing all the other things a person does in a day with their hands.
Restorative surgery not only repairs the body – it repairs the soul and restores dignity.
Leprosy, buruli ulcer and other infectious skin diseases disfigure and disable people. The bacteria thrive in the colder parts of the body like the hands and feet. It slowly damages the nerves, causing both loss of sensation and function. Fingers shrink and curl, the tendons at the ankle stop working, the foot no longer lifts with the toes. The outward damage can be repaired, but the sensation is lost forever.
People with disease caused impairment face discrimination – even after the bacterial infection has been cured, the wounds and scars lead to cruel shunning. But surgery corrects the outward physical appearance, repairs damage, and restores function to limbs and eyelids. The less visible the damage, the less discrimination. This is how we save a life.
Sadly, not all people with disabilities have access to surgery. In many areas of the world, especially where we work, surgery is hard to get. There is a shortage of medical professionals with the necessary training. There are not enough hospitals or physiotherapists.
Effect Hope works in partnership with Naini and Kolkata hospitals in India, referral hospitals in Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia and Bangladesh to help people with disabilities get “lifesaving” surgery.
You can save lives. Your gift ensures that people receive the needed surgery to restore their hands, feet, and hope. Please make a gift today to provide surgery for people waiting to live again.
CEO, Effect Hope
Pictured is Dr. Das, Executive Director of the Leprosy Mission Trust India, and head surgeon at Naini hospital, working with a patient.
- On average Effect Hope facilitates over 2200 surgeries per year.
- Ulcers, like those caused by diabetes, on numb feet, require surgery to prevent limb loss.
- 1640 people have had their limbs restored to full use.
- 2664 have had their mobility saved by ulcer surgery.
- Outpatient surgery has helped 3066 people with minor and major operations.
- Our work includes referring people to leprosy care hospitals to receive surgical care.
- Restorative surgery restores function but not sensation.
- Surgery is required for people who are diagnosed with advanced stages of infection. If caught early, disability can be prevented.