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Med-Surg Highlight: Operation International

Medication donated by BBF Global Relief helped members of Operation International’s Manhattan team perform 70 head and neck surgeries in Tarija, Bolivia. | Photo courtesy of Operation International

More than 100 bottles of medication from BBF were donated to a medical mission group that performed head and neck surgeries in Tarija, Bolivia.  

Operation International is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides free medical care to people in need regardless of their gender, cultural, ethnic, political, or religious affiliations. In October 2023, the organization’s Manhattan team took a trip to Bolivia to perform cleft lip and thyroid surgeries and to remove minor head and neck tumors, services lacking in most low-income countries. The team, which consisted of head and neck cancer surgeons, pediatric otolaryngologists, facial plastic surgeons, and anesthesiologists, performed 70 surgeries in the span of a week.  

BBF supplied the group with medication used to prevent nausea from surgery and radiation treatment, as well as with anti-inflammatory medicines.   

BBF’s Med-Surg program donates pharmaceuticals to healthcare providers traveling to countries where medical resources are limited. Medications are sent domestically to mission groups and are hand-carried into countries by medical providers who have prescriptive authority. The program helps medical mission groups overcome the logistical and cost difficulties that come with having to buy medications on-site.  

Photo courtesy of Operation International 

Operation International worked alongside staff at a local hospital prior to and during the trip. The hospital personnel, which included an otolaryngologist, helped identify patients in need of surgery and spread the word about Operation International’s visit. The Operation International team included local hospital personnel and medical staff in all aspects of patient care, training physicians and nurses on perioperative care, surgical techniques, and how to use new equipment.