THE SECOND CHANCE ASSOCIATION: ACTING TO HELP THE PYGMIES
By Pr. Dr. AHUKA ONA LONGOMBE
Partner surgeon, SECOND CHANCE
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
There are millions of disabled patients (children and adults) in the world. They can however be helped by the resources available to us – and above all, by the goodwill needed to bring these resources to bear. These suffering patients, some of whom die from their disabilities, can be helped through reconstructive surgery – a procedure which is within our capabilities.
This surgery is not available to them due to the lack of development, social security cover and personal financial resources. In short, in many cases care is basically unavailable due to POVERTY.
This observation lies at the heart of the vision of SECOND CHANCE, which makes reconstructive and plastic surgery available to the poorest people through its work in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC).
Disability is not a disease, or a purely personal problem, but rather a situation that is influenced by various factors, in particular social factors. The same handicap or physical problem may be experienced very differently depending on how a given society sees it and the way in which that society is structured.
As is generally known, the Pygmies are a nomadic people that live in the equatorial forests of DRC. SECOND CHANCE’S field of action for Plastic Surgery brings us into contact with these isolated people groups.
The only way we can get to Pygmy camps is by motorbike. The poor condition of the roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo needs to be borne in mind.
Using motorbikes involves taking risks because the roads to be taken are in very poor condition.
ISOLATED, IMPOVERISHED AND
ON THE DAY WE ARRIVED THEY CAME BARE-FOOTED!
SECOND CHANCE: MAKING SURGERY POSSIBLE
AFTER SURGERY (AND WITH A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES…) IN OUR LITTLE WAITING ROOM
SMALL GIFTS BEFORE WE LEAVE: A NEW LOOK!
THE RETURN HOME: SURPRISE, AMAZEMENT AND TEARS OF JOY
BACK TO DAILY LIFE – WITH ONE WORRY LESS
SECOND CHANCE: SOMETHING NEW IN HEALTHCARE IN AFRICA
1. HELPING AND TREATING PATIENTS FREE OF CHARGE
2. HOME VISITS TO CHECK ON PROGRESS: ‘AFTER SURGERY SERVICE’
3. FINDING OUT ABOUT HOW PATIENTS’ LIVES HAVE BEEN IMPACTED