Interplast and MyFaceMyBody
changing futures together

Interplast Australia & New Zealand is delighted to have been chosen as the official charity partner of the 2017 MyFaceMyBody Australasia Awards.

About Interplast

For almost 35 years Interplast has been changing futures across the Asia Pacific. We do this in two ways:

  • We provide free life-changing plastic and reconstructive surgery for those who would otherwise not be able to access or afford it.
  • We train and mentor local surgeons and other medical professionals so they can provide quality services to their communities all year round.

We do this by sending volunteer teams of fully qualified plastic and reconstructive surgeons, along with anaesthetists, nurses and allied health professionals (hand therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists) to developing countries in the Asia Pacific region.

In these countries a lack of resources combined with limited training of medical personnel means people with repairable conditions are often not treated fast or well enough, or in some cases not at all, which has a major impact on their quality of life, and ability to work and be part of community life.

Some of the conditions that we attend to are particular to a certain region. In Bhutan we see many patients who have been injured as a result of bear attacks. Unfortunately bears tend to attack the face. The severity of these injuries often requires specialised surgery that is not available locally.

In Mongolia there are a high number of children suffering from burns. This is mainly due to cooking in communal spaces in the home. After a burn the skin attempts to heal itself and shrinks, often fusing together body parts such as fingers. An operation conducted by one of our surgical teams, or someone who has been trained by them, could be the difference between a child being able to use their hands again or a life limited by injury.

The training of medical personnel in the countries we visit is a major focus of our work. We respond to the needs of each individual country by working closely with our local partner, which includes governments, hospitals and medical staff.

The impact of Interplast’s medical training is diverse, from long-term involvement with Sri Lanka’s growing plastic surgery program that is now becoming a leader in the Asia Pacific, to support for Fiji’s only qualified plastic surgeon, through to training programs for nurses, anaesthetists and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists.

We work in 17 countries across the Asia Pacific, and every one of them is different. They are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Find out more on the Interplast website about our work and how you can join us to change futures by repairing bodies and rebuilding lives:

Baby Andrew from Tonga was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, and with fingers and toes fused together. Visiting Interplast surgeons repaired his lip earlier this year, and when he is healthy enough, they will return to repair his palate and then later his hands and feet. Find out more about Andrew’s story.

Interplast volunteer plastic surgeon Dr Kirstie MacGill mentors local surgeons on a recent program to remote Mongolia.

Interplast volunteer plastic surgeon Dr Jeremy Richardson with patients during a surgical program to Mt Hagen in the highlands of Papua New Guinea in early 2017. You can read an inspiring story from PNG here.

General surgeons from across the Pacific gathered in Samoa in 2017 to receive basic plastic surgery training from Interplast volunteer surgeons. Fiji’s only qualified plastic surgeon, Dr Semesa Matanaicake (pictured), contributed to the training. Interplast has been supporting Dr Matanaicake’s professional development for many years.

Photos: Woodrow Wilson


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