BENEFITING: SPINE CARE INTERNATIONAL
Spine Care International (SCI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a goal of improving spine care in underserved communities around the world. This fundraiser is raising money for our upcoming medical service project in Mongolia, where we will provide spine care and surgery, surgical training, and supply advanced equipment. During their assessment trip to Ulaanbaatar in 2014, SCI found that Mongolia is not receiving the amount of international aid that many other Asian countries are. A critical issue that must be addressed is the absence of a pediatric neurosurgeon in all of Mongolia, which forces children who would normally require urgent care to either travel abroad or go untreated. It is crucial that spinal disorders are treated, because left untreated they can manifest into immobilizing pain, paralysis, loss of organ functions, and in cases of spina bifida, mortality. As a way to address and mitigate the alarming rates of spina bifida, as well as other spinal conditions in children, we are arranging and sponsoring a training program for a neurosurgeon from Ulaanbaatar to study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and their University Hospital, the Montefoire Medical Center in New York City. He will participate in a 3-4 month long oberservership with prominent neurosurgeon, Dr. Rick Abbott. Upon returning home to Mongolia, he will have assistance from Dr. Abbott for his first spina bifida closures. This training is very significant for Mongolian children and would directly aid the country’s fight against spina bifida and its' mortality rates. SCI also found that although Mongolia’s public health care system provides their citizens with free medical care, the system is greatly flawed in providing affordable treatment for spinal disorders. The entire cost of neurosurgery is covered by the government, but the $3,000 medical implant devices are not. The average annual income in Mongolia is $4,280, making the cost of implants unattainable for the majority of the population. Furthermore, the lack of neuro surgical instruments in Mongolia inhibits many locally trained neurosurgeons from having the current technical training necessary for addressing many of their people’s health needs. SCI has been working with Flagstaff International Relief Effort (FIRE), a nonprofit based in Flagstaff, Arizona with an office in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. FIRE mainly works with viral hepatitis and liver cancer prevention, and is coordinating with SCI and Third Shastin Central Hospital in Ulaanbaatar for our upcoming trip. During our 10-day medical service trip in May 2016, SCI will perform 10-15 surgeries on candidates indicating the greatest need and the narrowest financial resources. We will train local neurosurgeons during these procedures, host two lectures during our trip, and provide them with a supply of equipment that aids in their advancement. SCI is a firm believer in sustainable empowerment and is working to provide Mongolia with all the resources and tools to be successful and autonomous in their treatment of spine disorders.