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International Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Charity Profile
In 1992 Jack Mustarde, a retired Scottish consultant plastic surgeon visiting Ghana realised that there were no plastic surgery facilities in that country and decided to do something about it.
With the blessing of Ghana's President, Jack and colleagues began to set up the first Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Unit in West Africa in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana.
With voluntary help from a huge range of sources - including Jack's colleagues, the Ghanaian and Japanese Governments, the EU and innumerable smaller contributors, the new Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre was established and commissioned by the country's president in 1997.
Today, 3 plastic surgeons operate the Accra unit aided by visiting consultants from the UK who give their services freely for 1-2 weeks annually. A second unit with one trained plastic surgeon and another undergoing training in Munich, commenced operations in March 2001 in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region.
The Ghanaian Health Service now employs over 100 staff in the Accra and Kumasi Plastic Surgery Units.
International Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Volunteer Information
This project has succeeded thanks to the efforts of many people contributing their different skills. Foremost amongst these were medical professionals in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK who fulfill vital voluntary surgical and training roles.
The work and reputation of the project has inspired many senior level medics to volunteer and commit themselves to the IRPS overseas training programme for a number of years.
The IRPS can call on the services of 10 UK consultant plastic surgeons of varying specialties, most of whom are able to visit the project in Ghana annually. As well as assisting in more complex surgical cases, their role is primarily to teach, train and supervise Ghanaian doctors and enhance skill levels and abilities to UK levels.
Anaesthetists The IRPS can call on the services of 4 consultant anaesthetist volunteers. Again theirs is a training role, introducing new techniques in Ghana and funding Ghanaian anaesthetists on training visits to Scotland. Their impact on the project's development has been outstanding.
3 senior physiotherapists specialising in post reconstructive surgery rehabilitation and 1 cleft SLT specialist have committed themselves to improving and developing long term therapy provision in the plastic surgery units in Ghana.
Senior theatre, ward and recovery nurses frequently accompany the visiting teams.
Fortune has smiled on the project in terms of committed top quality manpower and sufficient financial security to undertake a structured 5 tear overseas training programme. 5 teams of up to 6 medics now visit Ghana annually, either raising the money for their own expenses or being subsidised by the charity. The team provide skilled hands-on training in most types of reconstructive surgery and tie-in with Ghana's reconstructive surgery training curriculum.