Christina Smith, PA
Christina Smith, PA
General Surgery · Troy, NY

Madagascar Medical Mission 2023

May 7th
Antsiranana, Madagascar

Project Description

I will be an integral member (Surgical Physician Assistant) of a team that will perform surgeries in Madagascar. Specifically we will focus on performing Thyrodectomies on patients who have large symptomatic Goiters which are most often left untreated in these communities.

We will also facilitate the transfer of education, surgical skills, knowledge and recent innovations to the local medical community including local Medical School students. Passing on our expertise will provide local medical staff the necessary knowledge and skills to perform these complex thyroidectomies in the future.

Population Served

Antisiranana is an underserved and underdeveloped area in Madagascar. As stated above, this patient population has a large number of large symptomatic goiters which often go untreated due to lack of routine medical care and lack of expertise. No only will patients receive much needed care, the local medical community will receive training from the team which will include Anesthesia, Physician Assistant, Surgical Scrub Tech and Peri-operative nursing care.

Expected Impact

Patients with these large goiters experience difficulty swallowing, tightness in their throat, hoarseness, cough, swelling of the neck veins, and difficulty lying flat. Removing these thyroids will significantly improve the quality of life of these young-middle age patients. We will include local medical staff in every facet of the process to include appropriate patent selection, necessary work-up, surgical removal, post-op management and follow up care.

Trip Photos & Recap

Our medical team performed 9 subtotal thyroidectomies. As noted in the pictures, these were extremely large symptomatic goiters. Healthcare in Madagascar is extremely limited for most citizens as they simply can not afford it. The surgeries we performed just wouldn’t have been performed without our services. In the process, we were able to teach local medical professionals surgical skills that they may not have otherwise seen. It was a very rewarding experience as the patients and community were so appreciative.