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Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Ethiopia

25th January 2012

Facing Africa

A team of British (and one Irish) volunter surgeons, anaesthetists, doctors and nurses is here in Addis Ababa this week to deal with a scourge that should not exist in the 21st Century. Noma is a gangrenous infection that mainly attacks poor and malnourished children. If undetected or untreated, it can eat away or distort the face. Some 90% of those affected will die. But the many survivors face pain, horrendous disfigurement, loss of functions and social exclusion. These are the victims that the UK charity “Facing Africa – Noma”, founded by Chris Lawrence and Allan Thom over a decade ago, are trying to help.

I met Chris and his team earlier this week – and they invited me to come and see some of their patients and the operations they are performing in the Korean Hospital here. It was tremendously moving. They are helping Ethiopians who have been abandoned by their families or ostracised by their communities to recover their lives. Facing Africa seeks out the victims of Noma and others who need facial reconstructive surgery and giving them another chance. They are dependent on volunteer medical teams and donations – you can read more about them at www.facingafrica.org.

Noma was not unknown in Europe – it was present in Nazi concentration camps in World War II. But it has virtually disappeared in the developed world. The challenge is to make it disappear in Africa too. In the meantime, Facing Africa are offering hope to the many sufferers.

2 comments on “Facing Africa

  1. Dear Ambassador, I am sending my heartfelt greetings from Budapest (Hungary), the place you you served previously as ambassador. I congratulate you for this project and I thank you for all the support we have received from you here in Budapest to the British Chamber’s corporate responsibility working group. I wish you and your new Ethiopian friends a prosperous cooperation for the times of your service there (and beyond, ofc 😉 …



  2. Dear Mr. Dorey

    We are very glad you came to visit the patients of such a horrible disease and appreciate your efforts.

    I am really inspired on what I saw in the operation room.

    Those patients who have got the chance for facial reconstructive surgery should consider themselves very lucky.

    I also would like to express my thanks to “Facing Africa” and the surgery team for what they are doing for our people.

    We will always be grateful for your support.

    God Bless you all

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