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ReSurge International’s largest year-round program in Africa is in Zambia, where we partner with the country’s only plastic surgeon. We are empowering Dr. Oumar Coulibaly to become Mali's first plastic surgeon, and we provide surgeries year-round through our Surgical Outreach Program in Ghana.


  • Population: 25 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 29 percent
  • Burn deaths per year: 707
  • Heart disease deaths per year: 590
  • Physicians per 10,000 people: < 1
  • Number of plastic surgeons: Approximately 6

About 400 babies are born with clefts each year in Ghana. Additionally, open cooking hearths and kerosene lamps in village homes are responsible for a large number of accidental fires. In fact, you are more likely to die from fire than heart disease in Ghana. Unfortunately, there are only six trained plastic surgeons in the entire country. In response to the defined need, ReSurge established a Surgical Outreach Program in Kumasi, which provides year-round care to children and adults with cleft lips and palates. In addition, Ghana’s few plastic surgeons are eager for the kind of hands-on training provided by ReSurge’s visiting educator program. Ongoing workshops on advanced surgical techniques provide invaluable training to local plastic surgeons and are a core component of ReSurge’s presence in Ghana.


  • Population: 15.8 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 50 percent
  • Physicians per 10,000 people: < 1
  • Number of plastic surgeons: 0
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 100

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. Nearly 17,000 people receive a severe burn each year and 775 babies are born with clefts annually. ReSurge International began sending teams to Bamako, Mali, in 2008 to restore function and hope to those with disabling burns, clefts and other conditions repairable through reconstructive surgery. Through these trips, ReSurge met local physician Dr. Oumar Coulibaly, who hopes one day to become his country’s first pediatric plastic surgeon. With the help of generous donors, ReSurge is funding his pediatric surgery residence in Côte d'Ivoire to achieve that goal and to help build surgical capacity in Mali.


  • Population: 13.5 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 69 percent
  • Number of plastic surgeons: 1
  • Average life expectancy: 49
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 500

Extreme poverty and disease, especially HIV/AIDS, burden children with the work of adults, as many must take on the roles of provider and head of household for their younger siblings. Children in adult roles, often working and cooking in unsafe conditions, are more prone to accidents like disabling burns and hand injuries. ReSurge has been working in Zambia since the late 1990s with Dr. Goran Jovic, the country’s only plastic surgeon. ReSurge’s involvement has taken the form of volunteer medical team trips, visiting educator workshops and a Surgical Outreach Program. As the center’s director in Lusaka, Jovic mends clefts and releases the contractures caused by disabling burns—giving those patients the ability to walk or use their hands again.

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