Dr. Rajesh Patel gave an inspiring talk about the mission and activities of Operation International at our regular meeting on Wednesday, June 5th.
Dr. Patel, is a member of the Board of Directors of Operation International, a secular, non-political, humanitarian organization founded in 1996 to offer medical aid to adults and children suffering from the lack of quality health care in impoverished countries. In their quest to change and save as many lives as possible, teams of medical and support personnel provide free medical care to people in need in countries around the world. They also offer education and training to local health care workers during each of their medical missions.
Team NY, the first Operation International team, made its maiden mission to Haiti in 1997, where the founders of the organization witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of poverty and inadequate medical care. Since then, teams of doctors, clinicians, nurses, and aides have expanded to include over 200 medical professionals currently providing services through several individual Chapters throughout the United States.
Dr. Patel characterized t heir missions by describing a very successful, recent medical mission to Rakai, Uganda, where a population of almost 500,000 people must rely on just one local hospital that employs only four physicians.
The Operation International team attended to over 350 impoverished adults and children, performed 72 major complex surgical procedures during 16-hour days on congenital anomalies, severe burn reconstructions, benign and malignant tumors, visited three orphanages, and delivered $600,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies.
Grateful patients experienced near-miracles as the medical team corrected their maladies, and the entire team expressed an extremely fulfilling experience.
Dr. Patel also described a popular annual fundraiser benefitting Operation International, the East End Garden Festival. This year, the fundraiser was held in Riverhead and Water Mill, offering an array of annuals and perennials for sale, from flowers to shrubs and trees, all donated by nurseries and greenhouses from Long Island and beyond.

The festival is coordinated by the Rotary Club of Riverhead and also benefits Riverhead’s Peconic Bay Medical Center and other charities that the club supports.
For more information about Operation International, how to support their cause, and compelling videos on many of their missions, visit their website: www.operationinternational.org.
Dr. Patel is shown above with Babylon Rotary President-Elect Jim Kanzler.