DUBAI // A Dubai-based doctor is calling on medical professionals to join him on a week-long mission to aid Haitian children struggling to survive after this month's earthquake. Dr Marc Sinclair, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, is looking for surgeons, paediatricians, nurses and anaesthetists to volunteer their services beginning on February 1 in the Caribbean nation. His charity, the Little Wings Foundation, which helps children with limb deformities, will co-ordinate its 10-person team with Cure International. Cure has set up three clinics with surgical facilities.
Dr Sinclair, who works at Medcare Hospital in Dubai, says it is a "natural" instinct for doctors to offer help and expertise in such a large-scale crisis. "So far, we've had so much support from people here, but we need more," he said. "We need sponsors and medical supplies. We even have to take our own food and water. There are no hotels so we just have to be prepared with mosquito nets and sleeping bags."
The Oasis Hospital in Al Ain has donated money towards the team's airfare, but they need to raise much more. "There will be so many repercussions to this crisis, especially in the children who will now be suffering from things such as cholera and diarrhoea," he said. This will not be the German doctor's first mission. He has volunteered his services four times in the West Bank and twice in Eritrea.
"I think for all doctors, it's fair to say that medicine is our passion. Working nine-to-five on a salary only fulfils part of what the job can give you. This fills a void you feel while working in a private practice," he said. After the quake, Dr Sinclair said, many surgeons answered the call to help from organisations such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the same group that contacted him.
"Maybe that's what is missing from a lot of practises, to feel you're really making a difference in people's lives," he said. Many children have lost their parents in the earthquake, while others are falling sick with diarrhoea, respiratory-tract infections and other communicable diseases in the aftermath of the disaster. Nearly half of Haiti's population of 10 million is under the age of 18, and aid workers fear the child population will face the highest rates of mortality following the disaster.
Haiti's child-health record is already one of the world's worst. An estimated 19,000 children in the country have HIV/Aids, and few drugs are available to treat them. Interested doctors can e-mail Dr. Sinclair at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com