Valley dermatology specialists Robert J. Casquejo, PA-C and Board Certified Dermatologist Joseph Machuzak, M.D., each of the Skin and Cancer Center of Scottsdale, recently put their skills to work saving lives in Kenya, one of the world’s most medically vulnerable countries.

Dermatology disorders in Kenya are both deadly and highly prevalent, counting as one of the top five most common causes of death at the primary care level.

Through Passion to Heal, Casquejo and Machuzak worked with local medical professionals to screen, diagnose and treat the skin diseases and conditions of community residents.

“Dr. Machuzak and I share a passion for helping the medically underserved, and, no doubt, this was an important opportunity to reach a population whose medical resources are scarce,” said Casquejo, who has also volunteered his services and provided life-saving medical care in the Philippines.

Rural populations in Kenya suffer from dermatology disorders due to the lack of financial and medical resources, including medical professionals. Lack of education about dermatological disorders and an undeveloped communication system aid in the spread of skin diseases and allergic disorders, according to Dermatology in Five Continents.

The work of Passion to Heal, Free the Children and the Me to We Foundation has directly addressed these issues in Kenya, having a tremendous impact on its citizens.

With the help of more than 200 medical professionals, more than 7,000 people have been served and more than 11,600 local students have been properly screened.

“We didn’t really know what to expect, but after getting on the ground we were able to make a difference for the beautiful people of the Maasai Mara,” Casquejo said.

Throughout the trip, doctors treated up to hundreds of patients per day. Those seeking care often traveled long distances for treatment.

While there, Machuzak and Casquejo shared advice and knowledge about dermatological health and disorders with the local community through educational seminars intending to help improve quality of life for those who attend and their families, from basic hygiene to preventive measures that can help fend off disease.

“In the short-term, our skills and knowledge helped those who were able to treat immediately,” Casquejo said. “In the long-term, however, we hope the advice and education provided to these patients will be passed along to their loved ones and friends. In teaching them what we know today, the hope is that lives will be saved and fatal diseases prevented in the future.”

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