Hispano-Belgian Team, Takoradi, Ghana

14-22 FEBRUARY 2009

The Hispano-Belgian team consisting of Ramon Vilallonga (consultant from Spain), Pina Orlando (experienced nurse from Belgium) operated at in Takoradi from February 14-22. Unfortunately, Dr. Casper Sommeling, Dr. Martin Ruppert and the rest of the Belgian team couldn t come and we had a very busy time in the theatre. We personally finished exhausted every day.

The team
The team

After arrival we drove to Takoradi in a raining night. We were welcomed at the guest house by Grace, Lillian and Kate, our hosts for the week who had a lot of pleasure in meeting again Pina because it was her second year.

Sunday we met Dr. Bernhard Boateng and discussed the surgical week . He had planned about 29 patients; 22 in the hernia wing and 7 in the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority hospital. We underwent for incisional hernias, mango, pineapple and one watermelon hernia repair. Also we had two cases of testicular hydrocoele and a testicular tumour. We performed also and emergency surgery in a patient with a strangulated hernia.

We had a very nice time with all the team there. The operation nurses helped a lot that everything was well organised, especially at the GPHA hospital. Everybody treated us very well and we danced even a lot, sandwiches were very nice

Dr. Bernhard Boateng spend a lot of precious time for us, in keeping us with some activities, even in the late afternoon. However we had time for visiting the harbour, play a game of golf with Georgina (The best golf player in Ghana) and some other activities. We even plan to organize a Golf tournament the next time we will go.

Local children
Local children
Part of the team
Part of the team

The last day in the hospital we were gratefully thanked by the team of nurses for the good works we did with presents. We got a special T-shirt of the hospital and lovely team pictures where taken. We also got one for our own album.

Also Dr Boateng and his team did think about our curves! Special Ghanaian chocolates where given to us by hart. We both were very touched with these gifts !

On Sunday after our arrival, we were taken to the beach and the last Saturday we visited the National Park of Kakum with the lovely guide Rebecca. Finally we went to Cape Coast and Accra where I was dropped to fly back to Spain and Pina picked up her whole family for another nice vacation trip around Ghana.

The Foundation Dr. Vilallonga www.fundacioramonvilallonga.org had taken material for 40 patients, including meshes, 200 bottles of local anaesthesia and Pina took plenty of presents for the kids but also for the friends. So our suitcases were empty at the end of the week. Everything went very well.

Dr Frank and Dr Bernhard deserved and received our deep respect for their work in Takoradi for treating all patients (children and adult) with all diseases (as surgeon, obstetrician etc) with relatively little is an immense responsibility. Also the nurses who we cannot forget because without their organisation we were able to operate. We hope we will be able to support them again.

We are keeping in touch with everybody, and all patients are going fine and will be followed up thru next teams and the local doctors .

The Hernia Wing and GPHA are well equipped but in the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority hospital theatre we ran out of electricity for 30 minutes and we performed the surgery with a lamp. The nurse asked me Aren t you going to continue, doctor?, I answered after some reflection Of Course . Than we used the flashy glasses whit led lights on who Pina took with her. We, the young surgeons have grown with the electrical cut. The nursing staff are well trained and fun to work with. They work very hard without complaining and put the well-being of their patients first. Dr Frank and Dr Bernard deserved and received our deep respect for their work in Takoradi. Running a hospital and being a generalist physician who treats all patients (children and adult) with all diseases (as surgeon, obstetrician etc) with relatively little is an immense responsibility. They deserve as much support as we can give.

We had a wonderful time thoroughly enjoying performing the operations, meeting Ghanaians and visiting parts of the country.

We will be back!

Ramon Vilallonga 
Pina Orlando

In the operating theatre
In the operating theatre