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Latin America

ReSurge International’s roots are in Latin America; our first volunteer medical trips were to Mexico. We have worked in Ecuador for more than three decades. In Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru, we have well-established sustainable, year-round programs to treat those with little or no access to the care they need.


  • Population: 10.67 million
  • Population living in poverty (below $1.25 per day): 8 percent
  • Number of hand surgeons: 3
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 120

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America and, in a country where so many rely on their hands to make their living, there are only three hand surgeons. In 1999, ReSurge International began sending teams of medical volunteers to Bolivia. A few years later, they were joined in their efforts by Dr. Jorge Terrazas, one of the country’s few hand surgeons devoted to caring for the poor. Today, Bolivia is the site of surgical team trips and periodic visiting educator workshops, all focusing on hand surgery. ReSurge is pleased that, with our partner, we can make a profound impact on the lives of the poor by healing hands.


  • Population: 15.73 million
  • For children under 5, productive years lost due to tuberculosis: 1,953
  • For children under 5, productive years lost due to fire: 4,826
  • Years ReSurge has worked in Ecuador: 36
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 210

UNICEF calls Ecuador “one of the most inequitable countries in the world.” Reaching poor children who need surgery and building the country’s medical capacity have been ReSurge International’s goals since our work started there in 1979. Thousands of medical volunteers have traveled to Ecuador to provide free surgeries and to offer advanced medical training. For 35 years, local plastic surgeon Dr. Jorge Palacios has been our partner, performing surgeries alongside our teams and year-round at the ReSurge | Long Island Plastic Surgical Group Surgical Outreach Program in Guayaquil. In addition, Dr. Palacios started Ecuador’s first plastic surgery residency program in order to build surgical capacity and to provide greater access to care by the nation’s poorest citizens. Now, many other residents are following in his footsteps to serve.


  • Population: 6.08 million
  • Percentage of population living below the poverty line ($1.25/day): 8.5%
  • Annual health care expenditure per capita: $276
  • Years ReSurge has worked in Nicaragua: 20
  • Visiting educator workshops per year: 2

The sad fact is that fewer than 10 percent of disabled children in the developing world go to school. These children, who may have been born with a cleft or suffer a disabling burn, have little hope for the future without an education, and often are shunned from society. But reconstructive surgery can change the course of their lives. ReSurge International’s involvement in Nicaragua dates back to 1994, when the first surgical teams visited the country. For the past few years, ReSurge’s partners in Nicaragua, Drs. Mario Perez, Humberto Briceño and Ivette Icaza, have been directing the Surgical Outreach Program in Managua, providing free reconstructive surgery and integrated care by a multi-disciplinary team to those in need. ReSurge also provides additional support and training for local physicians through its visiting educator workshops.


  • Population: 30.4 million
  • Hospital beds per 10,000 population: 15
  • Number of new clefts each year: 870
  • Years ReSurge has worked in Peru: 33
  • ReSurge surgeries performed annually: 270

ReSurge International first began sending surgical team trips to Peru in 1981 and continues to this day. Thirty years later, Peru is now host to two of ReSurge’s 10 Surgical Outreach Programs, making year-round access to reconstructive surgical care possible for children and adults with disabling burns and clefts. ReSurge is committed to promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency among its Peruvian medical partners. To that end, the visiting educator training program was introduced in Peru in 2001. Through surgical team trips, the outreach centers and visiting educator workshops, ReSurge has had a lasting impact and has donated nearly $14 million worth of free medical services to Peru’s poor.

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