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Mission Dhulikhel, Nepal

Mission Dhulikhel, Nepal

November 11-22, 2015
This past November, under the umbrella of Arpan Global Charities CHOC and SJO doctors traveled to Nepal to exchange information and share their skills and time at the Kathmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel, Nepal, an independent, non-profit  teaching hospital. Opened in 1996, the hospital, besides health services, also provides medical, dental and nursing schools, in collaboration with Kathmandu University.

The devastation from the 7.8 earthquake that killed 9,000 people and destroyed the area’s infrastructure in April 2015 was quite visible. The current fuel crisis was also evident causing the hospital to cook meals for patients and staff outdoors with wood.

Before the trip, some of the Dhulikhel surgeons requested needed supplies. SJO Interim Chief Medical Officer and orthopedic surgeon Paul Beck, MD, who made the trip along with his wife, internist Huong Thi  Duong, MD, cited arthroscopy shavers used to trim tissue in the knee as an example. “In the US we use these blades once but in Nepal they were reused and sterilized dozens of times and were quite dull.”  He has contacted a supplier in the US who will be donating new blades, although after the trip.

SJO NICU Medical Director and the founder of  Arpan Global Charities,  Sudeep Kurkreja, MD, and his wife, Song Kukreja, helped organize and participated in the trip. This Mission Dhulikel , Nepal was the 18th volunteer medical mission organized by Arpan Global Charities and was tremendously successful.  During this mission focus was more on teaching and education than service, although our team members examined and treated more than 300 patients and performed 65 surgical and dental procedures.  Every single day each team members gave 2-3 didactic lectures to their respective counterparts from Nepal as well as hands on demonstration of latest surgical procedures and skills. 

He continues, There is great need for exchange of knowledge and skills between the physicians and surgeons from US and Nepal.”  Dr. Ram Shrestha, the Vice Chancellor at Katmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel, was very supportive of having an ongoing academic affiliation between Dhulikhel Hospital and SJH/CHOC.  We discussed at great length about developing exchange program between Kathmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel and SJH/CHOC especially in the area of neonatology and pediatric surgery. SJH President and CEO Steve Moreau, who was part of this mission with his wife Anne, will be working with CHOC to facilitate this exchange.   

Also on the Nepal mission trip were anesthesiologist Jeffrey Sycamore, MD; dentist Vazrick Navasartian; pediatric infectious disease subspecialist Jasjit Singh, MD and her husband pediatric ENT Gurpreet Ahuja, MD; ophthalmologist David Yomtoob MD, and his wife Allison; pediatric nephrologist Dorit Ben-Ezer, MD and her daughter Maya; Hillary Nguyen, a SJO volunteer and Cal State Fullerton student; CHOC neonatal nurse Cindy Hecklau. All the volunteers paid for their own flight, meals, and accommodations at a lodge about a kilometer from the hospital.

This mission was not possible without contribution by each and every one of the volunteers and  our host team members at the Kathmandu University Hospital, Dhulikhel.

Anyone interested in upcoming mission trips with Arpan Global Charities can contact Dr. Kukreja at ArpanGlobal@gmail.com.

 


Arpan Global Charities Mission Moshi, Tanzania

August 10-17, 2014

At the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Arpan Global Charities 16th volunteer medical mission was held in the town of Moshi. This mission was unique for a few reasons: a) there was a relatively smaller team totaling 10 volunteers, including one anesthesiologist, one dentist, two thoracic surgeons, one pediatric orthopedic surgeon, one ophthalmologist, two pediatricians, one nurse and one non-medical volunteer. Of the10 total team members, 5 were from St Joseph Hospital in Orange. b) The team members came from 3 different hospitals, including St Joseph Hospital, Kibosho Eye and ENT Hospital and Machame Lutheran Hospital. The team stayed at Torchbearer Lodge run by Mama Lynn Elliott, who at the same campus also runs a non-profit organization, the Light in Africa, where 166 orphans are cared for. All the children at this orphanage receive shelter, meals, education and treatment for various underlying medical conditions including cerebral palsy, HIV and other acute as well chronic conditions.

During one week at Moshi our team members saw about 650 patients at different locations, including 3 hospitals in Moshi. Masai patients were seen and treated in remote areas in the bush. A total of 55 surgical procedures were performed including 17 eye surgeries, 16 general surgical and pediatric orthopedic procedures and 22 dental procedures. We delivered gifts from the sisters of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange to sister Leiymo of St Joseph Hospital in Soweto Moshi. In addition, our team members also delivered new clothes donated by St. John’s Friendship Quilters in Orange to the orphans at the Light in Africa. Our team dentist donated hundreds of toothbrushes and toothpaste to the local underserved population.


Overall, Mission Moshi in Tanzania was another successful mission for Arpan Global Charities, fulfilling its mission to bring health and hope to the medically underserved population around the world, while providing humanitarian assistance and medical education to those who need it the most.

For more information on Arpan Global Charities, visit http://www.arpanglobal.org/


Local charity reports on recent volunteer medical mission to Vietnam

The second volunteer medical mission of the year undertaken by Arpan Global and its large cadre of supporters was October 5-12, 2013, to the Thai Hoa Hospital in Cao Lanh Vietnam (the Dong Thap province). This hospital lies to the south of Ho Chi Minh City by about a 3-hour bus drive in a very rural area.  It is a tropical area, lush with green vegetation and abundant rice fields.  The people are warm, friendly, eager to practice any English they know, curious about the rest of the world, and willing to help in any way possible for whatever reason.  Their hospitality was heartfelt and their kind and gentle words and actions clearly came from the heart.

The Thai Hoa Hospital is a relatively new, private hospital built specifically to serve a large catchment area in the Don Thap province and is located in fairly close proximity to the older public hospital.  The first floor contains the outpatient clinic areas, radiology, pharmacy, emergency treatment and waiting areas.  Upstairs is the labor and delivery units, postpartum, the nursery (which includes three isolettes and a ventilator for premature babies), and the pediatrics ward.  The third floor holds the operating rooms (including one dedicated for cesarean sections), recovery room, and the general wards.  The facility is clean, modern, and there is a real sense of pride of ownership among those who work there.

This was one of the largest mission teams that Arpan Global has assembled, with 52 dedicated individuals making their way to the other side of the planet in order to participate.  The range of medical and healthcare services represented was quite wide:  

  • Anesthesiology
  • Pediatrics, including neonatology
  • Internal Medicine, including cardiology
  • Radiology, including ultrasonography
  • Surgery, including plastics, GI, urology, orthopedics, ENT
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dentistry
  • Nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Pharmacology
  • Social worker

Even nonmedical experts were present, willing and able to do whatever they could to help with patient flow and even patient care when possible.  

While the hospital isimpressive for its modernity, it attracts a patient population that can be limited in size.  The outpatient sites serviced by the team were another story.  Patients in local towns and villages lined up for the chance to get a lottery ticket to be seen by the visiting medical team and they were there early in the morning, ready and willing to wait all day if necessary.  Triage desks were set up at each site with local volunteers from Cao Lanh serving as translators.  Vital signs were taken and after the concerns of the patient were ascertained, they were directed to an available medical team for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.  (If specific specialty needs were identified, they were sent to the experts on site).   A space for occupational and physical therapy was created at each site, as was an impromptu pharmacy and dispensary.  The dental area was extremely popular and often the last to finish each day.  After several of these day-long outpatient visits, it became clear that hypertension (often severe and completely uncontrolled), osteoarthritis, chronic low back pain, and lack of oral hygiene were among the preeminent and common complaints in the general population. 

Trips to orphanages along with visits to government sponsored homes for disabled children and the elderly homeless were also part of the itinerary.  Arpan Global was able to donate a water filter, washer and dryer, and a computer to some of these facilities.  A day-long trip to a shelter for women and girls who had been victims of human trafficking highlighted the impact that desperate levels of poverty and lack of vocational skill sets play in enabling trafficking to occur. 

By the end of the week, the team had seen over 800 patients, performed 125 dental procedures, several complex medical procedures, and many diagnostic procedures, allowing for appropriate treatment and intervention to begin for those patients.  More importantly, the team members felt like they had made a difference in the lives of people and the only issue of concern was the feeling that they wanted to do more.   Vietnam has been called Asia’s ‘comeback kid’ economically and while many are feeling the success, there still remains a great need for modernization and improvement in the health care system.  Arpan Global is proud to have had the opportunity to make its own contribution towards meeting that need in its own way.

For more information please contact Sudeep Kukreja, MD at (714) 585-1920

Vietnam mission team, Arpan Global Charities

OCMA Specialty Spotlight: Humanitarian Healing


Arpan Global Charities (AGC) is a non-profit organization established in 2005 by Dr. Sudeep Kukreja.  The goal of AGC is to bring health and hope to medically underserved populations around the world while providing humanitarian assistance and medical education to those who need it the most.

Arpan Global Charities' 13th international medical volunteer mission took place in the city of Latacunga, Ecuador and a team of 52 dedicated medical and non-medical volunteers participated. Team  members had diverse backgrounds and many years of experience in their respective fields and among them were: 5 nurses, 5 pediatric residents from CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County, an echo tech, 3 anesthesiologists, 7 pediatricians, 1 cardiologist, 1 dentist, 1 geneticist, 1 gynecologist, 1 CT surgeon, 1 ENT surgeon, 1 ophthalmologist, 1 plastic surgeon, 2 general pediatric surgeons, 1 pediatric orthopedic surgeon, 1 orthopedic surgeon for adults, 1 radiologist, 1 pharmacist, and 10 non-medical volunteers.

Volunteers arrived from the US to Quito in waves and landed in Quito's new airport, located approximately an hour and half away from Latacunga. Although team members faced multiple challenges due to delayed airport pick-ups, lost luggage, and a late arrival to the hotel in Quito at 2:30 AM, the volunteers were eager to start working so they rushed to their rooms to get some rest. The team members were ready at 6 AM for the bus ride to their final destination, the small town of Latacunga.  After a 2-hour trip, the team arrived at a government clinic named Patronato where they immediately examined hundreds of patients and pre-screened them for treatments and/or surgery. Arpan Global Charities rented two facilities with operating rooms in Latacunga for surgeries: Clinica Continental and Instituto de la Mujer. Some surgeries were also performed by the pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the geneticist at Baca Ortiz Children's Hospital in Quito. Furthermore, Arpan's genetics doctor took the initiative to collaborate with local physicians to organize a genetics conference scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Quito for the "Rare Diseases Day."  While reaching out and collaborating with local physicians, our medical team established a promising relationship with Quito's medical faculty to discuss the development of a partnership between CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County and Baca Ortiz Children's Hospital in Quito to promote international collaboration and exchange programs.



Volunteers of Arpan Global Charities also visited 4 different orphanages in Latacunga and Quito where they examined every orphan residing in those centers and facilitated treatment, distributed clothes, and donated toys. Mission volunteers had the opportunity to visit two schools located in very poor areas of their town where they examined every student and discovered some children who had undiagnosed serious medical conditions for which treatment was facilitated. The team of anesthesiologists and nursing staff provided supportive services to patients in the recovery room which allowed skilled surgeons to perform more than one hundred major surgical procedures. With the help of the echo technician, the cardiologist volunteer was able to examine and treat hundreds of patients. Even the dentist surgeon was kept extremely busy from 8 AM to 6 PM everyday with long lines of patients eagerly waiting to see him. 


The help and support of the nursing members, pediatric residents, pharmacist, non-medical volunteers, Ecuadorian volunteers and Ecuadorian medical students was phenomenal. This mission would have not been possible without them.  Besides providing free medical care to the most underserved population in Ecuador, Arpan Global team members were also involved in the education of local nurses, medical students, and doctors in both Latacunga and Quito.

Considering that team members had limited equipment and very scarce medical supplies, it is important to acknowledge their caring attitude and sense of commitment for these qualities enabled them to work long hours on a daily basis to provide humanitarian healing to all their patients.  Indeed, the team's dedication and hard work enabled Arpan Global Charities to touch the lives of more than 1,500 Ecuadorian children and adults. A lot was accomplished during this missionary trip which makes it one of the most exciting and successful medical volunteer missions of Arpan Global Charities.




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