"Volunteers are amateurs"

1 April 2016

My world of volunteering and welcome to it.


I was very taken over the Easter weekend to learn through the BBC about the volunteer team who were in Delhi operating on a number patients including victims of acid attacks.

The British and Danish team, part of British charity Interplast UK, includes surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, a physiotherapist and even a pharmacist.

They work closely with host countries, and in Delhi set up shop in a local hospital and prepare for a surgical marathon - treating as many patients as they can in the two weeks or so they are in the country.

In Delhi, they undertook more than 100 surgical procedures in less than two weeks over their holidays.

They treat children with cleft palates and the victims of burns and other accidental injuries, and about a quarter of their patients are people who have been deliberately disfigured: doused in acid in horrific attacks.

You might think that the effect on the medical team would be depressing, however, its the opposite. Retired NHS plastic surgeon Charles Viva has been running these "surgerythons" in developing countries for more than four decades says; "the courage his patients show is an inspiration."  Anupama is a case in point. “She has travelled more than 1,000km (621 miles) from her home in the Indian state of Bihar to be here".

You can watch & read more about this story here on the BBC website.