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Heroic Hull surgeon to present to international audience after saving children’s faces



A Hull surgeon saving children whose faces have been destroyed by an infection caused by extreme poverty and malnutrition is to showcase his work to a global audience.

Mr Kelvin Mizen, a maxillofacial consultant at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has spent more than a decade treating children in Ethiopia with Noma, a bacterial infection which can lead to gangrene.

Now, Mr Mizen has been invited to give a lecture to an international audience by the Head and Neck Academic Centre at UCL, the university in London rated the UK’s top university for research strength.

He joins a prestigious line-up of eminent maxillofacial surgeons from countries all over the world including Scotland, France, Ghana, Ethiopia, Germany and Brazil, who have been invited to outline their work.

His lecture – “A decade of experience with microvascular head and neck reconstruction in Ethiopia” – will take place on July 28 and is part of the international Head and Neck Webinar Series.

Mr Mizen’s work in Ethiopia was featured in Channel 5’s Extraordinary People series in 2018 when a documentary team filmed him saving two young women aged 14 and 20 after they developed huge tumours on their faces.

Noma, also known as cancrum oris, can be prevented with antibiotics and immediate nutritional support if detected early enough. However, when it goes untreated, it causes mouth ulcers leading to agonising swelling in the cheeks or lips. Gangrene sets in within days, leaving gaping holes in the faces of children. Around 90 per cent of people with Noma will die from sepsis.

The World Health Organisation estimates around 140,000 children, mostly under six, will develop the condition, present in 39 of the 46 countries in Africa, every year.

You can register for the free event, which starts at 7.30pm.

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