Sponsored by: 


Hosted by: Outreach To Africa and Mbarara  Hospital

Members with Medicine for Humanity:

  • Dr. Leo & Ann Lagasse               University of California Los Angeles
  • Dr. James Woods                        University of Rochester
  • Dr. Christopher Tarnay              University of California Los Angeles
  • Dr. Una Lee                                   Virginia Mason Medical Centre
  • Dr. Paula Jaye Doyle                   University of Rochester
  • Dr. Erin Mellano                          University of California Los Angeles
  • Anthony Espino, RN                    University of California Los Angeles


  • 22 Vesicovaginal Fistula repairs
  • 4 urethrovaginal fistula repairs
  • 7 rectovaginal fistula repairs
  • 1 Autologous fascial retropubic sling
  • 1 Burch urethropexy
  • 18 sphincteroplasties
  • 69 patients treated in Fort Portal Outreach to Africa Clinic
  • 28 patients treated in Rwebisengo Outreach to Africa Clinic
  • Educational Journal club with local OB/GYN residents
  • 3 lectures given to OB/GYN lectures
  • 2 local nurses trained to support OR staff
  • Lecture given to 20 Nursing students

SAM_2156 MFH

The mission trip started on September 7th, 2013, as a group of medical professionals from UCLA traveled from Los Angeles, California to Mbarara, Uganda.   In Mbarara, the public was notified by radio and TV advertisements of the group’s surgical mission to help women with fistulas and other complicated urogenital problems.  Through the generous support of Emirates Airline Foundaton, Outreach to Africa and Medicine for Humanity, a second group from the University of Rochester and Medicine for Humanity was able to arrive in Uganda on September 9th, 2013.

The two groups met in Mbarara to screen, triage and admit patients to the M.U.S.T. (Mbarara University of Science and Technology) hospital.  Over the next two weeks, the surgical team operated on over 41 women. This was one of the major achievements of the mission trip.  In addition, a strong effort was made to educate the local surgeons, physicians in training and nurses in a collaborative exchange.

Formal lectures were conducted with the local nurses and residents.  Formal didactic sessions reviewing current medical literature were held as a formal Journal Club.  The Journal Club was led by faculty members and residents actively participated in the learning experience.  It has been noted by many of the participants, that education and the transfer of ideas is crucial to the development and sustainability of our shared mission goals.

Another process for exchanging ideas was surgical collaboration between mission members, local surgeons and residents. Multiple patients with chronic urinary incontinence and/or fecal incontinence were treated with surgical correction of their pelvic floor.  It is estimated that about 200,000 or 2% of Ugandan women of reproductive age are leaking urine, feces, or both from vaginal fistulas (New Vision News September 12, 2013 p2).  Fistula formation can be created during obstructed vaginal labor.  It is of great necessity that women experiencing a difficult vaginal labor present to the local hospital of clinic.

Knowing the importance of local hospitals and clinics, the mission team dedicated their time to advancement in rural clinics.  Half way through the medical mission, four members of the group departed for Fort Portal, Uganda.  Outreach to Africa was able to host the medical team at two clinics, one in Fort Portal and the other in Rwebisengo.  Radio announcements were previously broadcast and a robust amount of patients were treated at each clinic.

A total of 97 patients were seen over three days between the two clinics.  A variety of pathology was seen and treated, such as malaria with end organ splenomegaly in a child, post cesarean myometritis and severe hypertensive episodes.  These patients were proactively treated with intravenous medications, and in two cases, admitted to the clinic for prolonged care.


In addition, there were numerous patients with suspected sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic pain and other infectious diseases such as malaria and typhus.  HIV screening was done regularly with multiple positive results.  The Ugandan staff was then able to counsel the HIV patients and give step-by-step instructions on how to acquire antiretroviral medications.  Psychosocial counseling was also provided.

Despite the large volume of patients that were treated surgically and medically, one of the greatest accomplishments of this mission trip has been human connection.  There were connections made between individuals, groups and corporations.  The health and wellbeing of underserved people cannot be done by individuals alone.  It will take an integrated collaboration between a diverse group, who are able to freely share resources, ideas and a common goal of empowering people.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Categories: Uncategorized


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