A Message from our Medical Director
Dear Board Members of Big Dreams, Inc,
It is truly my honor to accept your offer to serve on your Board of Directors as Medical Director for Big Dreams. The days I spent in the Gambia with your team had an enormous impact on me, both professionally and personally. I believe there are many things that we can work on together to improve the health of the people in The Gambia.
There were three major areas that I feel it is important to focus on. I was surprised by the overwhelming number of skin infections that I saw. Most cases were limited to superficial areas, however these have the propensity to spread and become more serious. There were many cases of cellulitis and abscesses that required treatment, as progression can lead to loss of function and even death. Having access to diagnosis and treatment that is relatively simple could vastly improve the health of people in the villages in The Gambia.
The second area involves conditions that are correctable with basic surgery. I saw many children with orthopedic and urologic anomolies. These abnormalities can extensively affect one’s functioning, increase risk of infection, and limit children in their ability to attend school. It is my hope that the creation of a very simple Ambulatory Care Center may help to bring volunteer surgery groups to the Gambia, and funds could be raised to help bring those affected to the surgery center for care.
The third area of focus involves patients with chronic conditions. Some conditions are not treatable, such as cerebral palsy, but a family’s life and functioning can be dramatically affected by something as simple as a wheelchair for mobilization. I saw many children with congenital heart disease, and this would require cardiothoracic surgery. There are worldwide organizations that sponsor children to travel for corrective surgery, and I feel that I can play a role in increasing awareness of the children of The Gambia who may qualify for consideration. There are other cases of chronic illness that would benefit from a consultation of a physician in Banjul, beyond what the local and regional clinics can evaluate. If these cases are vetted, perhaps funding could allow for at least a consultation at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul. This benefits not only the patients, but also the students and residents in their exposure and learning.
It would be my honor to work closely with your organization to help to bring these things to fruition. I am truly humbled by your letter and invitation, and I look forward to working with the Big Dreams Inc team, as well as the people of The Gambia.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Holly P. Mintz, MD