(L-R, UNC Surgery Residents Anna Tyson and Melanie Sion, President Bill Clinton, UNC Trauma Surgeon Anthony Charles)
Former President Bill Clinton met today with UNC Trauma Surgeon Anthony G. Charles in Malawi to discuss the care of burn patients in Africa. Burns are a leading source of injury in Malawi, due in part to the style of cooking over open flame as used by many in the culture. Dr. Charles had the chance to talk with Clinton about the UNC work being done in Malawi in terms of Burn Care. The Clintons were very interested in this UNC effort and congratulated Dr. Charles and his team on their hard work on behalf of the Malawian people.
Dr. Charles shares some of his thoughts below:
Q: Why has UNC chosen to build a surgical initiative in Malawi?
Dr. Charles: Malawi was the natural choice for MSI. UNC Infectious Diseases was already there, they had already built a large research and clinical infrastructure in Malawi focused on infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS), and they recognized the burden of surgical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. We were invited to Malawi by Myron Cohen and he has championed our cause and been our greatest supporter and advocate.
Q: How will the new operating room impact the Burn unit at MSI?
Dr. Charles: We believe it will facilitate the timely surgical care of our burn patients.
Q: What was it like meeting former President Clinton?
Dr. Charles: It was surreal. He was very engaging and was delighted to hear about the work we are doing. Chelsea was particularly interested in knowing how things have changed since six years ago when MSI first started.
Q: Were you able to speak with President Clinton about the project?
Dr. Charles: I had a few minutes with him….I thanked him for the work being done by the Clinton Foundation and reminded him that surgical care cannot be ignored, especially trauma and burn needs in Malawi. There are not enough surgeons in Malawi and UNC is supporting the residency training program.
Q: Are there any plans to work with the Clinton Foundation in the future?
Dr. Charles: We have made contacts with the Clinton Foundation and it is our hope that their interest in our work leads to a fruitful UNC-Clinton Foundation collaboration.