Our mission statement reads: “Operation Hernia is committed to providing high quality surgery at minimal costs to patients that otherwise would not receive it.”
Operation Hernia was started in 2005 by two surgeons, Andrew Kingsnorth and Chris Oppong, with the help of the Plymouth-Takoradi link. In 2006 plans were proposed to establish a Hernia Treatment Centre in Takoradi in southwest Ghana. The British High Commission in Ghana donated £10,000 towards the project at the former Takoradi European Hospital. Redundant wards were converted into a purpose-built Hernia Centre comprising air-conditioned operating theatres, along with reception and recovery wards. Design and construction support was provided by CNR, a Canadian oil and gas production company with offices in Takoradi. As further support, CNR also organised and provided funding for six nurses from Takoradi to receive training at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. CNR also organised shipment of a 40 foot container loaded with redundant equipment from the UK National Health Service. This vital equipment provided essential items for the initial fitting-out of the Hernia Centre. Since that time the centre has been visited and successfully used by many volunteer teams of several nationalities. Several times each year teams of surgeons and anaesthetists now visit the Hernia Centre in Takoradi for one week missions and operate on about 50-100 patients during their time there.
Two years ago Operation Hernia celebrated a very successful decade and is looking to build on its success and deliver even more missions to various parts of the world where untreated hernias continue to be a major health problem.
“It has been estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the poorest third of the world’s population undergo only 3.5% of the annual estimated 234 million surgical procedures.”
Eight additional sites have now been visited in Ghana by Operation Hernia teams: Carpenter, Dixcove, Cape Coast, Nalerigu, Ho, Keta, Kumasi and Bole. Each site normally receives at least one Operation Hernia Team each year.
Operation Hernia has pioneered the use of low cost polypropylene mesh, similar to that used for mosquito netting, for hernia surgery and this low cost option is now used routinely.
Operation Hernia has pioneered the use of low cost (affordable) polypropylene mesh for hernia surgery and this option is now used routinely. Studies have shown it to be safe and very cost-effective in the treatment of groin hernias in Africa.
Hernias occur with a similar frequency in all populations and are affected by ethnicity and occupation, with a slightly increased frequency in Africans. The lifetime risk for hernia in men is 27% and for women 3%.