Life saving work by five doctors who gave their time to treat patients in desperate need of help for untreated hernias in Ghana has been recognised by the British Medical Association (BMA).
Their ‘life changing’ experience successfully treated 107 patients with “massive and disabling” hernias in Africa as part of the Operation Hernia project.
Dr Beverley Parker, one of the five Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust doctors that visited Ghana as part of the surgical team, said: “It has been estimated that there are 6.3million untreated hernias in Africa. As a result, numerous preventable deaths and cases of permanent disability occur.
“In just five days we operated on 107 patients, including 19 children, who without the treatment may have died.
“We counted our blessings whilst working in Ghana and were inspired by the patients and staff who demonstrated admirable teamwork, and despite the poor resources had results to be proud of.”
Operation Hernia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides surgery to patients in developing countries who otherwise would not receive it. The trip was part of the BMA’s new ‘Doctors as Volunteers’ initiative which promotes and supports people considering medical volunteering.
The work of the Trust doctors won plaudits at the BMA’s recent annual representative meeting in Harrogate.
A poster designed by two of the Trust’s surgical team – Beverley Parker, an Anaesthetic Registrar, and Hannah Welbourn, a Surgical Registrar – to promote their work was also displayed at the event.
Dr Ian Wilson, Chair of the BMA’s Representative Body, said: “The importance and significance of charitable work has far reaching benefits not only to the individual, through broadening the skills base of clinicians, but also to host countries or UK communities where help and assistance leaves a positive legacy.
“By showcasing individual experiences, we hope to encourage and inspire those considering voluntary work to take a chance and go for it.”
The doctors from the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust team were made up of Chris Macklin, Beverley Parker, Hannah Welbourn, Khaled Ismail and team leader Fawole Adeshina. They were joined by operating department practitioners Melanie Precious and Nicola Perrin.