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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, we are instituting a training program for surgical residents in Zimbabwe, and we provide surgeries year-round through our Surgical Outreach Program in Ghana.


  • Population: 26 million
  • Population living below national poverty line: 24%
  • Burn deaths per year: 707
  • Heart disease deaths per year: 590
  • Physicians per 10,000 people: < 1
  • Number of plastic surgeons: Approximately 10

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.


  • Population: 15.3 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 51%
  • Physicians per 10,000 people: 1
  • Number of plastic surgeons: 0

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 10,000 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 funded his pediatric surgery residence in Côte d'Ivoire and continues to support him as a medical scholar to help build surgical capacity in Mali.


  • Population: 14.5 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 74%
  • Number of plastic surgeons: 1
  • Average life expectancy: 57
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 530

Extreme poverty and disease burden children in Zambia 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 surgical 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.


  • Population: 14.6 million
  • Number of physicians per 10,000 people: 1.6
  • Life expectancy: 58
  • Human Development Index rank out of 186 countries: 172

In Zimbabwe, there is on average 1.6 physicians and 7.2 nurses for every 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. By contrast, in the United States there are 25 physicians on average per 10,000 people. In response to the need for trained surgical care providers in the country, ReSurge is forming a partnership with the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences and Dr. Godfrey Muguti, who runs the plastic surgery residency program there. Dr. Muguti is a professor of surgery at the University Of Zimbabwe College Of Health Sciences (UZCHS) and a clinical professor of surgery at Stanford University. The partnership with ReSurge is designed to provide high quality, reconstructive surgical training to Dr. Muguti's surgical trainees to augment their surgical training. ReSurge aims to send at least two educator teams to Zimbabwe per year with the hope to grow our training program over time.

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