In December 2000 dr. Cees Spronk operated for the first time upon patients with split lips and serious mutilations contracted after burns in Faridpur. The number of patients was enormous: more than 30 children were operated upon, but many had to be disappointed. That is why dr. Spronk promised to return, which he did: each year he returned, from 2004 accompanied by a medical team. This team consists of dr. Cees Spronk, professor Paul Spauwen, also a plastic surgeon, an anaesthesiologist and a nurse anaesthesiology. In the hospital of Faridpur they closely worked together with the Bengali doctors of the Bangladesh Medical Association.
In Bangladesh health care is not free and the majority of the poor cannot afford an operation. In the Plastic Surgery Camp the entire treatment is free: the operations are performed for free by the doctors and the expenses for the hospital and medicines are paid for by the Faridpur Welfare Foundation. That is why this project is so successful.
There is also a limited number of Bengali plastic surgeons, but there are many patients who need plastic surgery. Relatively speaking more children in Bangladesh than elsewhere are born with a split lip. Moreover, the care for burns is under-developed. Patients who survive serious burns usually have very serious mutilations.
During each Plastic Surgery Camp on average 190 operations are performed. Due to this
work the children and grown-ups who had an operation will have a better and dignified life. At the end of these missions there is always a scientific medical seminar. The Plastic Surgery Camps in Bangladesh have become well known by now.
“We hear that 500 patients were waiting for us the next day, first for pre-screening and later -partly- for the operation. It was a total of 532, gathered on a field in front of the hospital, mainly poor people, mothers with children, expecting that something could be done to the split lips, paralyzed legs, clog-feet, vascular tumors, burnt fingers and curved joints. Too much sadness brought together, too many patients to be treated by us”. (From the report by professor Spauwen, 2004.)