Cincinnati Children's Blog

A trip to Africa changes lives

When visitors pull into the circle drive at the front of Cincinnati Children’s, they are greeted by a display of flags representing some of the countries from which our patients travel to receive care. It’s a lovely part of the façade of the hospital, but more than that, it’s a public sign of the pride we have in our role as an international leader in improving child health.

Clinical procedures and treatments pioneered at Cincinnati Children’s are used throughout the world. The impact of our medical research breakthroughs has improved pediatric health today and will for generations to come.

And while we often reference Dr. Albert Sabin’s historic contributions to global child health, today, we focus on Dr. Marc Levitt’s modern day dedication to helping the world’s children.

Dr. Levitt is associate director of the Colorectal Center for Children at Cincinnati Children’s, the first and only pediatric colorectal center in the world. He and the center’s director, Dr. Alberto Pena, care for children with complex colorectal conditions, including anorectal malformations, imperforate anus, Hirschprung’s disease, fecal incontinence and other issues related to the bowel. Drs. Pena and Levitt have cared for children from 80 countries and all 50 states.

 As part of their focus on helping others, Dr. Pena and Dr. Levitt, as well as colleagues from gynecology, urology, pediatric surgery, anesthesiology and nursing, travel to developing countries to help patients in need and their doctors.

Colorectal Memo of UnderstandingIn January, Dr. Levitt, on behalf of the hospital, signed a memorandum of understanding between Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Ghana and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. By signing it, he and the team have promised to complete three mission trips to the African nation to provide surgical intervention and follow-up care for children who have not had access to the type of care their complex conditions require. They will also train the local physicians so they can care for future children.

The signing ceremony took place during the first of the three trips to Accra. The team will return to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital again in 2011 and 2012.

  They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and as such, we recommend you take a few minutes to watch the slideshow below. And if you prefer words, check out this article, detailing the January trip to Ghana in our latest issue of Pediatric Insights.

Later this year, several surgeons from Ghana will come to Cincinnati to continue training.  Korle-Bu also is sending a nurse to learn more about operating room procedures and pediatric colorectal nursing. The hope is for Korle Bu to serve as a regional center to help children from all over western Africa, and beyond.

What goes around comes around. And making a difference around the world is part of what we do.

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