Medical trip to Africa “changes faces and lives”

Twenty seven Ethiopian adults and children affected by a disfiguring disease have undergone life-changing treatment thanks to a team of charity workers, voluntary surgeons and donated medical equipment.

Two B. Braun Medical Ltd employees have returned from the ‘incredible’ experience in Africa after seeing for themselves how surgical equipment donated by the healthcare company helped treat people suffering from the facial tissue disease Noma.

B. Braun’s Annette Crowe – Marketing Manager – Managed Service Solutions and Power Systems, and Sales Representative Gavin Kerr were invited to Addis Ababa by Facing Africa, a charity which funds visits by voluntary surgeons to perform facial reconstruction surgery on the victims of the disease, as well as the acquisition of related hospital equipment.

B. Braun Medical Ltd, which has its UK headquarters in Sheffield, donated equipment including surgical instruments for use in the facial reconstruction surgery. A number of items that were not relevant to the Noma surgery were donated to local hospitals.

During the visit, 27 operations were carried out on Ethiopians whose faces had been damaged by the gangrenous infection which destroys facial tissue. Without treatment, 90 per cent of Noma victims will die within three to four weeks, with the remaining ten per cent spending the rest of their lives unable to eat, drink, speak or smile properly.

The B. Braun duo were joined on the trip by nurses from Blackburn Royal Hospital and leading plastic surgeons from Bristol, as well as France and Germany.

Annette said:

We knew before we set off that this would be a humbling experience but it really was incredible. Ethiopia is a bustling and vibrant country, but the scale of poverty is widespread and heartbreaking.

Chris Lawrence, the chairman of Facing Africa, had explained how these operations are changing people’s faces and lives, but to see for ourselves how the equipment B. Braun Medical Ltd has donated has made such a difference was an incredible experience we will never forget.

Chris Lawrence said:

Facing Africa would not be able to carry out so many facial reconstructions without the kind and generous donations made by companies like B. Braun Medical Ltd.

Providing the poor and sick with surgery of excellence can only be achieved with medical instruments of the highest quality.

We have also had some very grateful feedback from the hospitals we donated equipment to who had severe shortages or who have been able to replace damaged instruments, so we are extremely indebted to B. Braun.

B. Braun Medical Ltd, which is based at Thorncliffe Park, Sheffield, is the UK arm of the global healthcare company B. Braun.

Facing Africa Gav & patient
B Braun’s Gavin Kerr and a young Noma sufferer enjoy some entertainment on an iPad

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