Mbingo Baptist Hospital,  Bamenda Cameroon. Click here to view photo gallery

Dr. Wayne Koch spent one three weeks at the Mbingo Baptist Hospital near Bamenda, NW province Cameroon in 2008. This project was carried out under the auspices of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS).  PAACS administrates several general surgery residency-training programs in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. The program at Mbingo has the approval of the West African College of Surgeons. A full time general surgeon, Steve Sparks, MD is the program director, and there were 6 residents at various levels of training on site. In addition, an otolaryngology resident from Bamenda who is training in Kijabe, Kenya was also present, having returned to Bamenda in order to work with me.

Forty-two patients underwent surgery under my direction during the three weeks. These included two total laryngectomies, one vertical hemilaryngectomy, 3 partial thyroidectomies, four partial maxillectomies, one hemimandibulectomy, one cystic hygroma excision with neck dissection, one cleft lip repair, and many smaller procedures. Residents were exposed to these cases, as well as lectures on head and neck malignancy, airway management, sinus disease and related topics.

The Mbingo Baptist hospital is equipped and staffed to perform major surgical cases. On site there is an active internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine program along with specialists in ophthalmology and orthopedic surgery. The anesthesia staff consists of several CRNAs who are Cameroonian nurses taught by an anesthesiologist who visited for an extended time from Canada. Surgical monitoring is limited to pulse oximetry, and postoperative in hospital facilities are staffed round the clock by Cameroonian nurses and PAACS residents on call.  Endoscopy light sources are available, but the only microscope is configured and dedicated for ophthalmologic procedures.

PAACS provides full-time faculty mentorship for all residents, consisting of at least one full-time US board certified surgeon sometimes with some national surgeons involved. These surgeons raise their own financial support through mission agencies and other sources. PAACS, through donations from interested persons, provides salary support for all residents. Individual sites are responsible for resident housing. These provisions are critical to the overall goal of PAACS, to train residents in surgery in Africa with the hope that they will stay and help with the enormous dearth of surgical services throughout the continent.

Bolivia Medical Mission Project. Click here to view photo gallery

June, 2007

In June, 2007, I participated in a two week project in Monteiro, central Bolivia. The project took place in association with Medical Ministry International  ( We did many procedures and saw many patients, with a focus on Ear, Nose and Throat disorders. Surgeries included hemithyroidectomy (3), parotidectomy (1), maxillary antrostomy with removal of choanal polyp (2), tonsillectomies, etc.

MMI is a non-denominational faith based (evangelical Christian) organization. Sponsored projects take place in the Caribbean, South and Central America and to a lesser degree in Africa and Asia. Project leaders are MMI staff, usually living in the country of the project. Some supplies are available on site, but volunteers bring medications, supplies and instruments. Most projects involve both medical (outpatient clinic) and surgical teams. MMI tries to partner with local humanitarian workers and community leaders and typically returns to the same sites at least annually to provide some continuity of care.

Volunteers with MMI give not only of their vacation time and donated collected supplies, but must pay airfare, in-country transportation, room and board, and a fee that helps buy additional supplies and medicines.