Taking the initiative: Locals travel to Uganda to assist the Palmetto Medical Initiative

Palmetto Medical Initiative was founded in 2008 by Matt Alexander, a veteran nonprofit leader, and Dr. Ed O’Bryan, a physician and longtime medical missions director. The pair took their first team to Uganda for a site visit in 2009 and were overwhelmed by the apparent lack of healthcare facing the Ugandan community they visited. By combining the resources available through globally-minded churches, universities, organizations and individuals, PMI Uganda was realized later that year.
Through the implementation of a successful, sustainable medical clinic on the ground in Uganda, PMI has been able to spread its wings into other valued communities across the world.
PMI’s short-term medical mission teams are a vital component of their long-term approach to improving the quality of healthcare. PMI sends teams of 30-60 volunteers on quarterly trips to project sites in Masindi, Uganda, and Viejo, Nicaragua.

Buffy Camputaro holding “SS” in Uganda.

Buffy Camputaro and Son Trask, two local attorneys, joined 35 team members consisting of a general practitioner, dermatologist, pulmonologist, dentist, pharmacist, physician assistants, medical students, nurses, prayer team and various non-medical professionals to care for the underprivileged, malnourished, and medically deprived people of Uganda.
The team treated approximately 400 men, women and children daily.  Many of the patients had never seen a medical professional during their lifetime.  They would hear that the Mzungus were coming and would travel, often sleeping on the ground or standing up to 12 hours in line, patiently awaiting the team’s arrival. Camputaro stated “The suffering that many of these people endure is indescribable, yet they are so gracious and appreciative. They have survived rape, genocide, corruption, disease, and deplorable living conditions including limited contaminated drinking water.  Yet, one by one, as we cared for them, I saw God and hope in their eyes.”

The hand of “SS.”

One pediatric patient who captured Camputaro’s heart immediately was “SS.” She is 18 months old and was severely burned.  It is common practice in that part of the world to bandage and bind the burns, which caused her tiny fingers to fuse permanently together. In order to have a productive life or at a minimum work in the fields to survive, SS will require hand surgery.
Camputaro has undertaken the task of finding a willing and able surgeon to join an upcoming mission trip to travel to Uganda as well as raise funds to cover the costs of her surgery. PMI’s brand new state-of-the-art surgery center in Masindi is set for completion this upcoming June. Should anyone know of a competent willing surgeon or wish to contribute toward the cost of this child’s surgery, please contact Buffy Camputaro at 843-442-9517.
For more information on PMI or upcoming medical mission trips, please visit the website at www.palmettomedical.org or contact Tyler McCoy, the volunteer director at 843-696-2223.

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