Report from Paddy O'Dwyer
My colleague Dr Chew (Cindy) and I left for Ghana on 23rd June 2007. With us we took mesh donated by Ethicon and Proxy Biomedical, gloves, local anaesthetic and sutures. We arrived in Accra at night, had accommodation pre-arranged and were transported to Takoradi the following day.
We operated from Monday through to Friday. During that period 37 patients were scheduled for hernia repair, two had to be cancelled, one who had large inguinal lymph nodes and one who developed severe hypertension while awaiting incisional hernia repair. Four children and three adults with incarcerated inguinal hernias had their repair undertaken under general anaesthesia while all the rest were repaired under local anaesthetic. All patients with inguinal hernias were large indirect hernias apart from one which was direct. All patients were discharged on the same day with follow up arranged for one week at the local Hospital.
We finished operating late on Friday evening and returned to Accra on the Saturday when we flew back to Manchester. Unfortunately our flight had to be diverted because of the terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport on the 29th June 2007.
Throughout our stay we had very good hospitality arranged through Brian Dixon. Unfortunately we were not always able to enjoy it as some of the days were long and difficult. In retrospect we should have stayed an extra day and taken a rest day on the Wednesday.
The operating table was too low for someone of my height and resulted in transient backache throughout my stay. The theatre lights worked intermittently and as a result both of us suffered minor needle stick injuries.
The staff in theatre were very friendly and worked hard in difficult circumstances. The patients were excellent and appreciated the efforts of all concerned. We were grateful for the privilege of looking after such patients and would welcome feed back on their outcome.