This week neurosurgical resident Hugo den Boogert will leave to Ethiopia for his first medical mission, to provide help in any way possible for the care of children with hydrocephalus and spina bifida. Due to shortage of daily intake of folic acid in women during their pregnancy, these diseases are still quite common in Sub-Saharan Africa, and without proper treatment can lead to severe functional disability and death. Mainly cultural differences, limited financial resources, and the often remote distance to the nearest hospital, result in patients not arriving at the hospital on time or sometimes even not at all. Reach Another Foundation (RAF; is a volunteer-based, non-profit organisation which since 2008 pursues the best possible care for medically underserved patients. They have already done very admirable work by working on a better healthcare structure for patients with hydrocephalus and spina bifida, better education for pregnant women, and by improving the Neurosurgical training program, together with the few Neurosurgeons working there and the Ethiopian government. Besides this, RAF also focusses on the care of autistic children by supporting the foundation of a special school for children with autism in the past, and trying to get a second school opened during this mission in Adama.
Hugo will be joining one of the Neurosurgeons in his daily work, and will gather important clinical information of patients before and after surgery. Also will he be thinking of better ways to improve the health care infrastructure and follow up of these children.