For two decades, the EMAS Ecuador team called Operation Esperanza, led by Dr. Thomas Greidanus, has been changing lives in Ecuador. In February of 2018, a team of over 60 volunteers—medical professionals, dental professionals, and support personnel—will travel to the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, to once again provide free orthopaedic surgery and dental care to poor Ecuadoreans who don’t have the financial means to access these services.
Operation Esperanza consists of two orthopaedic teams and a dental team. The adult orthopaedic team performs hip and knee replacement surgeries on adults with painful and often severely debilitating hip and knee conditions. During a typical mission, 40 hip and knee replacements are done. The patients and their families are always extremely grateful and quick to praise God.
The paediatric orthopaedic team performs surgery on children with hip dysplasia (abnormal hip development), club feet, and a variety of other conditions. A large number of adult and child patients are also seen in consultation.
The dental team provides treatment and preventative care to children in rural schools as well as children in Cuenca’s orphanages and to disadvantaged adults in Cuenca’s shelters.
Along with carrying out the surgeries and dental care, team members also strive to educate the medical/dental communities and the public about best practices for both the treatment and prevention of orthopaedic and dental conditions.
In 1997, Dr. Thomas Greidanus, and a small nursing team, went on a short-term mission to Ecuador. Dr. Manuel Avila, a local doctor, kept asking Dr. Thomas Greidanus if they could return -which he did the following year. Over the years, the team grew. A paediatric team and a dental team were added. For the past decade, there have been over 60 team members, including surgeons, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, nurses and general helpers.The team has returned to the same region in Ecuador every year since that time.
Help bring mobility to those who cannot afford hip or knee surgery in Ecuador:
• $500 will cover one quarter of the cost of a prosthesis
• $1000 will cover half the cost of a prosthesis
• $2000 will pay the full cost of a prosthesis