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Local doctor shares experiences working in Africa

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After nearly 25 years of serving Waynesboro, orthopedic surgeon David Burgess felt a calling to Africa. Burgess packed for Malawi in 2011, and for the past two years he has been using his medical skills at the CURE International hospital in Bentyre, Malawi.

CURE, founded in 1986, has established a presence in 27 countries, performing more than 138,000 life-changing surgeries, caring for more than 1.9 million outpatients, and training more than 6,100 medical professionals.

Burgess was in Waynesboro last week to talk to the Waynesboro Rotary Club about CURE International, and to suggest to Rotary members ways that the local club can assist CURE in providing medical services abroad.

The biggest need, Burgess said, is in the area of training.

“The CURE hospital is excellent, but one of the problems is that when you see yourself as excellent and better than other hospitals, it’s very easy to go, We’re here, we’ve accomplished what we need to accomplish. But to stay excellent, you need to be improving, you have to continue to train,” Burgess said.

Another key need is training local staff on maintaining equipment.

“In Africa, there’s a real emphasis on the West supporting a lot of things, so a lot of times, you don’t maintain those things as well, because a lot of times, you’ll just replace them with donations. So trying to teach maintenance, not just repairs, but long-term maintenance schedules, trying to keep things running for quite a while, which is difficult with the power systems that there are in Africa, is important as well,” Burgess said.

More information online at www.WaynesboroRotary.com and at www.CURE.org.

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