Operation Hernia - The Charity
Operation Hernia is a surgical programme intended to treat and teach inguinal hernia surgery in low and middle income countries.
It was initiated in 2005 in Takoradi, Ghana and now operates in four other countries of West Africa (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Cameroon), in Malawi, Mongolia, Ecuador, Peru and Moldova, and with plans for further expansion in 2012.
Surgeon Volunteers are drawn mainly from members of the European and American Hernia Societies, by Andrew Kingsnorth, Past-President of the European Hernia Society who also recruits volunteers, initiates and organises the missions. Mr Chris Oppong is the Project Coordinator for Ghana, Dr Oluyombo Awojobi is the Project Coordinator for Nigeria and Teresa Butron is the Project Coordinator for South America. Operation Hernia is an independent UK charity and non-profit organisation, which has links with the American College of Surgeons Operation GivingBack organisation.
Inguinal hernia is a public health problem in many low income countries. Although inguinal hernia develops at all ages (mainly in men)and in all parts of the world with the same frequency, in poor communities they are not treated due to lack of hospitals and surgeons. For example in the Bole District of Northern Ghana, there are ten times more patients with hernia compared to an equivalent population in Europe. It has been estimated that there are 6.3 million untreated hernias in Africa. As a result numerous deaths and cases of permanent disability occur because these hernias may strangulate and cause death or permanent disability.
In rural areas worldwide basic surgical services are not available and there is no possibility that Governments will be able to provide such facilities in the near future. Partnerships are required between charities such as Operation Hernia and NGOs in order to provide surgical care delivered by Teams of Volunteers.
Operation Hernia has supported surgical services to the underserved with over 85 humanitarian missions and treated over 9000 patients that otherwise would not have received a potentially life-saving operation.