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  • Author: Hans Jakob
  • When : 6 Juni 2021
  • About : The 1st mission in Kinshasa, July 2019

The 1st mission in Kinshasa, July 2019

Congo is the richest country in the world in terms of natural resources, but its people are the poorest and most backward because they receive no support or investment from the West due to pervasive corruption (President Joseph Kabila has stashed $15 billion in Switzerland). Only China buys into Congo by constructing roads and buildings - with an eye on possible diamonds and coltan for their computers and cell phones. Kinshasa, a city of 12 million, consists of a small western center on the Congo River and countless chaotic suburbs on the surrounding hills, albeit with a very pleasant climate.
In Congo, whose territory is as large as Western Europe and has 80 million inhabitants, there is 1 doctor for every 10,000 inhabitants. In terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Human Development Index (HDI), it ranks third to last among all countries, ahead of Mozambique and Niger.
Our team consisted of plastic surgeon Dr. Prakash Chhajlani from Indore, India, and anesthesiologist Dr. Paul Schüller from Traunstein, Germany, both of whom have been on countless Interplast missions since 1984, last year's medical student Linda Kaschny from Bad Homburg, Germany, and Gottfried Lemperle from Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Heinz Schöneich from Munich, who works mainly in Myanmar, joined Paul directly from an Interplast mission in Tanga, Tanzania, later.
The camp had been prepared by Dr. Harmonie Linda Mitila, who had already operated with us three times in Goma, in cooperation with the Health Ministry in Kinshasa. The only plastic surgeon in Congo, Dr. Richard Batiteyan (trained in Belgium) and his assistant Dr. Frederick Moko, 2 experienced anesthesiologists and four other young surgeons actively helped.
Instead of the agreed university hospital, the Health Ministry had assigned us a hospital in the suburb of Kinkole, which had been disused for years, where there was a pavilion with a small operating wing and 3 patient rooms. A diesel generator was started for the operating lamps and our cell phones, and with a little water, instruments and gowns could be washed and sterilized in a modern steri. An anesthesia machine was leased and the necessary there very expensive anesthetics were purchased.
Most of the 88 patients operated on had large benign or malignant bone tumors in the face, which had often been operated on subradically years ago, or extreme burn contractures mainly on the elbows and hands. We could have operated for a whole month instead of the agreed 8 surgical days, just to repair the most conspicuous disfigurements presented to us. However, with the typical African equanimity, the patients with less pronounced tumors and contractures were put off until next year. In terms of congenital deformities, we operated on only one palatal fistula; also in the capital, as in many places in Africa, the newborns who cannot be married later are given to the Congo.
The 28 patients with extreme facial tumors, many of whom had been operated on before, and the 20 or so with burn contractures of their arms and hands were patient and satisfied postoperatively. They bore their limitations in an exemplary manner and all wounds healed without complications and without significant infections despite the lack of hygiene in the Op.
We would like to thank again Pro-Interplast e.V., which had made this operation possible like so many before - and Catgut GmbH in Markneukirchen, Serag-Wiessner GmbH in Naila for the necessary suture material, as well as Novidion in Cologne for the Pulox skin stapling devices.

Abb. 1a

Fig. 1a

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Fig. 1b

Fig. 1a+b Pre-operated ameloblastoma of the mandible, this time radically removed with sub-optimal reconstruction of the mandible with a metal plate.

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Fig. 2a

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Fig. 2b

Fig. 2a+b Fibrous dysplasia of the right maxilla grown within 12 years. Radical extirpation and reconstruction with remaining periosteal bone flaps.

Gottfried Lemperle, Frankfurt