Operation Hernia Team Inaugurates Hernia Centre in Eruwa, Nigeria December 2012
We arrived at Eruwa on Saturday 1st December. There were seven members from Madrid hospitals (anaesthetists: Francisco Duran and Miguel Lopez Vizcayno, surgeons: JA Pascual Montero, Teresa Butrón, Patricia Maldonado (resident), internist: Iñigo Espert, nurse: Ana belen Abenoja) who were joined by an additional member from the UK the following day.
The site was the Awojobi Clinic, which started at grassroots level in the 1980’s and has been steadily growing ever since. The clinic was set up to serve the local rural population but the level of care has reached a standard that attracts patients from as far away as Lagos, a 3-4 hour journey by road.
Work started on the Sunday and continued during daylight hours for five days. The patients would arrive from 8am and the 8 team members formed two surgical teams. Surgery was performed in the purpose built ‘Hernia Centre’ which was opened during the visit. The operations were performed under spinal anaesthesia and operations were predominantly Lichtenstein repairs using locally sterilised mosquito mesh. Workload varied each day depending on the numbers of patients who presented.
There was strong training ethos to the mission. Dr Awojobi has a total of five registrars who initially watched and later performed Lichtenstein repairs under direct Consultant supervision. The hernia centre will remain open after the end of the mission with the registrars operating independently.
On a couple of the afternoons we had finished the operating before nightfall and had the opportunity to visit other departments in the clinic. The emphasis is on delivering the highest possible level of health care using available resources. The results are impressive, with most of the departments present that one would expect in a far larger hospital. We also had the opportunity to observe some of the differences in presentation and treatment between European and Nigerian patients. One evening team members assisted local staff with completion of a traumatic amputation in a teenage boy.
The people of Eruwa and were welcoming and friendly and we made a lot of new friends. Over the week we performed at total of 44 operations on 38 patients. They were predominantly inguinal hernia repairs, but we also repaired two femoral hernias, one epigastric hernia, explored one groin for lymphadenopathy and removed a large lipoma without immediate complication. We left Eruwa not only satisfied with the procedures which we had performed but also enthusiastic that the training element of the mission will add to the ‘hernia centre’ and lead to ongoing benefit to the local population once we have returned to our home countries.