New Surgeon Brings Expertise to CURE Malawi

Dr. Dorothy Bbaale is something of a trailblazer.

There are only five registered plastic surgeons for Malawi’s nearly 20 million people, and Dr. Dorothy—an Ugandan-born surgeon—is now among them. She recently joined the medical team at Beit-CURE Children’s Hospital in Malawi (CURE Malawi), where, as one of the few females in a male-dominated field, she’ll bring plastic and reconstructive surgery services to Malawi’s most vulnerable.

“There is a great and dire need for more reconstructive surgeons,” Dr. Dorothy says. “The chance to heal children is the greatest joy of my life—and the chance to do it here at CURE Malawi is a dream come true.”

Dr. Dorothy Bbaale checks on a patient at CURE Malawi.

Expanding impact to meet an urgent need

Every year, because of the country’s critical lack of surgical capacity, thousands of Malawi’s children needlessly suffer from treatable conditions like burn contractures and cleft lip and palate. They are often left marginalized and vulnerable to abuse.

As part of CURE’s strategic plan, CURE Malawi is expanding its capacity to serve even more of these children in more ways, including through plastic and reconstructive care. In December 2022, the hospital broke ground on a new surgical centre and plans to expand its current hospital capacity by 30 percent to treat 2,500 children each year.

Healing more children requires more skilled surgeons, and we’re grateful Dr. Dorothy is living out Isaiah’s cry: “Here I am, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

“My heart has always been to help children in Africa

While Dr. Dorothy was finishing her post-graduate training at CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital in Uganda, where she’s originally from, she learned about CURE International from one of her trainers, Dr. Andrew Hodges, who now serves at CURE Zimbabwe.

When her post-graduate training was done, Dr. Dorothy could have continued her career in just about any region of the world. But, she served three-month stints at CURE’s hospitals in the Philippines and Ethiopia, where she grew as a surgeon and fell in love with CURE’s mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Dr. Dorothy shares that treating kids brings transformation into her own life, and she feels a call to serve them. She says, “My heart has always been to help children in Africa and low- and middle-income countries, where the help is needed most. CURE brings quality services to those who need it most, at absolutely no cost . . . We not only change their lives through surgery, but also through the gospel preached every day. It is a privilege to be able to openly share the message of hope in Christ.”

While serving at Tebow CURE Hospital, Dr. Dorothy Bbaale (pictured at left in photo on the left) was part of the team that performed a nasal reconstruction on a young man named Rickmar (pictured at right), who lost his nose in a fire. She was able to help restore more than just his nose. Rickmar says, “My confidence was rebuilt after my surgery.”

A blessing to bless the most vulnerable with hope

The skin on little Mphatso’s right leg fused together after a fire, preventing him from walking and limiting his hope of an independent future. Dr. Dorothy is part of the team at CURE Malawi providing the life-changing surgical care he needs.

With Dr. Dorothy on the surgical team at CURE Malawi, it means new life for children like Mphatso–the young boy with a shy smile who loves balloons, candy, and playing. But a burn to his right leg has caused painful scarring that limits his mobility and his future. Mphatso’s grandma says his surgery with Dr. Dorothy will repair more than just his knee: “I know how he struggles to fit into our community with the other kids, at school, play areas, and any public place. [After surgery], life will never be the same for my grandson.“

After a successful surgery, Mphatso was discharged from CURE with a balloon in his hand and new hope in his heart. Generosity from faithful donors like you made it possible!

Dr. Dorothy looks forward to helping heal more children like Mphatso at CURE Malawi.

“It is such a blessing to be used by God as an instrument to do His work,” she said. “And in the end, we are the ones who are truly blessed to have a chance to serve these people every day, and their faith and trust in God push me to do better every day.”

You can make an impact with CURE

Did you know: Generous supporters like you make it possible for every child’s surgery to be provided at no cost to families living in poverty? Make a gift to help a child today.

[This post was originally published on the CURE International website on Thursday, 9th March 2023]

Photo of the Melissa Hall

About the Author:

Melissa joined CURE UK in June 2021, heading up Marketing, Communications, and Events. On her visit to CURE Children's Hospital of Zimbabwe in September 2022 she experienced the people and the environment that makes a CURE hospital so special! She makes every effort to communicate this to readers everywhere.