Paul Wilson is best known for his plastic and cosmetic surgery in Bristol, but what you may not know, is that he is also a passionate supporter of a charity called ‘Facing Africa’ and has travelled to Ethiopia every May for the past four years to perform life-saving reconstructive surgery on children and adults affected by Noma.
Facing Africa and Noma
Facing Africa is a non-profit charitable organisation that exists to treat the effects of an infection called Noma. In those infected, ulcers develop usually inside the patients’ mouth before rapid tissue degeneration occurs and life expectancy can be drastically reduced. Noma is a ravaging gangrenous infection with acute effects and a terrifyingly fast rate of progression. Most victims are young children who are weakened by the effects of chronic malnutrition and extreme poverty.
Rebuilding faces – and lives
Paul spends a couple of weeks each year in Addis Ababa, working as part of a team of highly skilled and experienced volunteer surgeons from across the UK, Germany, France, Holland and Japan. He carries out plastic and cosmetic surgery to reconstruct patients’ faces.
This year, he successfully treated two patients with huge life-limiting tumours on their lower jaw. By transplanting a portion of fibula bone from the lower leg, he was able to reconstruct each of the patients’ jaws. In a similar case, he carried out a total reconstruction of a patient’s lower lip.
Paul has now made four trips to Ethiopia with the charity to carry out vital procedures for patients who would otherwise have no hope of accessing or affording the treatment that they so desperately need. He is looking forward to planning a fifth trip next year, having seen first-hand the difference that medical intervention can make to those treated for Noma and for their families.
Paul says: “with a particular interest and background in facial reconstructive surgery, I wanted to be able to give something back and support a good cause.” He originally heard about Facing Africa through a colleague, Anthony MacQuillan, who is also based in Bristol. He asked Paul to join him on the first trip alongside a team of excellent international surgeons who are equally motivated to make a difference in one of the poorest parts of Africa.
To find out more or to support the work of Facing Africa, visit: http://www.facingafrica.org/