The Mwandi Mission Hospital in Western Zambia

Dr. Peggy Schrieber, a faculty member through CPMG, is a talented surgeon with a long history in international surgery. Dr. Schreiber takes annual trips to the Mwandi Mission Hospital, a 100 bed hospital in the rural western province of Zambia. She takes a surgical team that always includes general surgeons, ENTs, gynecologists, anesthesiologists, internists, and a 4th year general surgery resident from St. Joe’s Hospital.

She grew up in Madison, WI, but her medical school and surgical training took her away from her Midwestern beginnings and out to the east coast. After her undergraduate years at Yale, she spent 2 years in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa, both teaching high school science and math and helping create a lab in an eye hospital. Stateside once again, she completed medical school at Tufts University, where she obtained both her MD and MPH, with a focus on international health. In 2002, she joined the CPMG surgical group in Denver and generously shares her mentorship and vast experience with our residents and students alike. 

Through her decades-long relationship with the Mwandi Mission Hospital in Western Zambia, Dr. Schrieber has provided longitudinal surgical care to patients in this region. Mwandi Mission Hospital is a 100 bed hospital in the rural western province of Zambia, several hours up the Zambezi river from Victoria Falls along a pothole-marred road. Dr. Schrieber has gone there on an annual or biannual basis for 20 years (excepting 2020 due to the COVID pandemic).  She often takes 2 trips per year, which enables an additional resident to have this invaluable experience. They spend 2 weeks away, (includes travel time and a short safari) which allows a day of patient screening and 7 full operative days in 2 operating rooms.

The most common procedures performed are adult and pediatric hernia repair, thyroid surgery, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and orchiopexy for pediatric undescended testicles. They operate on patients who frequently travel great distances across the country to have these procedures performed. The aim is to care for any patient who shows up, if possible, sometimes relying on telemedicine with colleagues at home for guidance when the diagnosis falls outside of the represented specialties.

The trip is a team endeavor between the 12 team members from the USA and our Zambian colleagues and hospital staff, with whom she has developed a close working relationship over 20 years. This model has enabled the provision of excellent surgical care, much of which cannot otherwise be delivered in this area of Zambia. Additionally, Dr. Schrieber aims to increase training over the next 5 years for Zambian providers to improve the overall surgical continuity by enabling these local practitioners to also be able to perform some of these procedures/services.