Tuesday 25th November 2014


Chris Oppong, Chairman of Operation Hernia, attended the Netherlands Society for International Surgery Symposium on “Surgery in Low Resource Settings” in Amsterdam from November 14th to 16th, 2014.

There were some important highlights that may be of interest to Operation Hernia partners.

1. International Collaboration for Essential Surgery: 15 x 15 Campaign

15 x 15 is a campaign by the International Collaboration for Essential Surgery (ICES) http://www.essentialsurgery.com/ and Operation Hernia is a Supporting Body of ICES. Hernia Surgery is one of the 15 Essential Surgical Procedures. The ICES website explains that the campaign focuses on promoting the 15 essential interventions that can take care of the basic surgical needs of any community. 15 x 15’s overarching goal is to ensure that Essential Surgery is recognized as a priority for primary care policies, practice, and research by 2015. The 15 x 15 campaign aims to increase access to Essential Surgery through:

Piloting — innovative models for task shifting and training non-MDs to perform surgery
Advocating — for essential surgeries to be integrated into existing health systems
Informing — the field through research, publications, and screenings of The Right to Heal

The Right to Heal is a film that sheds light on the neglected issues of surgical care globally, and the need for organizations and individuals to unite in bringing essential surgery to poorly-served areas of the world. Please visit the ICES website (http://www.essentialsurgery.com/the-right-to-heal/) to watch a trailer of The Right to Heal or http://vimeo.com/91687421 to watch the full film.

2. The Role of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Global Surgery

This was the keynote lecture delivered by Dr Meena Cherian who leads the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care. She is a Professor of Anaesthesia, having originally graduated from a University in India.

Dr Cherian announced that the WHO will at its meeting in May 2015 formally approve of Essential Surgery as part of its Global Health agenda. This will be preceded by approval by the WHO Executive Board at their meeting in January 2015 and will bring hope to the 2 billion people who lack access to basic surgical care. It will be the culmination of years of campaigning by various bodies and individuals to persuade the WHO to end years of neglect of basic surgery as an essential part of the WHO programme to improve global health.

3. Edna Adan University Hospital, Somaliland www.ednahospital.org

Edna Adan thrilled the meeting with her eloquent presentation of her achievement in establishing a successful healthcare system in Somaliland from the ruins of a war. Born in Hargeisa in1937, she was trained as nurse and midwife in the UK. In 1961 she returned home becoming the first qualified midwife in Somaliland. Her career for the WHO started in 1965. In 1991 she became WHO Representative in the Republic of Djibouti where she served until retirement in 1997. In 2002 she became the first and only woman Minister in the Government of Somaliland when she served as Minister of Social Affairs, and between 2003 and 2006, she was Somaliland’s Foreign Minister. For her impressive work she has received numerous awards and she has been invited to several international conferences, like the Lancet Commission of Safe Surgery. In order to reduce the high maternal mortality rate of the women in her country, her lifetime goal is to train 1,000 midwives to work in remote areas in Somaliland and encourages other countries in Africa to train one million midwives to work in African countries with similar harsh conditions for women like Somaliland.

Dr. Shukri is a remarkable young doctor. She became one of two first female doctors in Somaliland. First she graduated as a midwife at the Edna Adan Hospital. Due to her talent and motivation she received sponsorship to go to medical school. After graduation in 2011 she was one of the first female medical staff members of the Edna Adan hospital. This ambitious lady is still improving her skills. She became the first national trainer on infant resuscitation. Dr Shukri is currently focusing on surgery and recently performed her first obstetric fistula operations.

4. E-Learning with 3D visualisation for training

Theo Wiggers a retired surgeon presented a novel e-learning module with 3D visualisation for training surgeons. This will be piloted in Ghana during an Operation Hernia mission led by Dutch surgeon, Maarten Simons.

5. College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa

The College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) is an independent body that fosters postgraduate education in surgery and provides surgical training throughout the region of East, Central and Southern Africa. COSECSA is a non-profit making body that currently operates in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Prof Jani, Secretary General of COCSECA, presented the innovative model for training of surgeons in the COSECA region to improve the critical shortage of trained surgeons. Operation Hernia is now exploring possible collaboration with COSECSA to be involved in training in hernia surgery.

Chris Oppong,

Chairman, Operation Hernia

November 24, 2014