Missions

Report of the Belgian – Italian team.

Visit to Takoradi from March 15 – March 23, 2014

In March 2014 a team of four Belgian surgeons (Myriam Bruggeman, Paul Van Acker, Marc Huyghe and Casper Sommeling), one registrar (Stijn Heyman) one nurse (Pina Orlando), accompanied by an Italian surgeon (Cecilia Ceribelli) again visited Takoradi in Ghana. Our main financial sponsor is still the Belgian Section of Abdominal Wall Surgery. We brought meshes (kindly donated by Medri, Covidien Belgium, Bard Italy and Assut Europe), gloves (Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture materials (Johnson & Johnson). Resterilized polypropylene meshes and so called “Indian meshes” were also taken. Local anaesthetics, syringes and needles were donated by Bbraun and BD; this time lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy marcaine were donated by Operation Hernia and bought for us in Ghana.

After arriving at Accra, late Saturday night, for the second time we stayed at the Ghana Baptist Mission. The following day we made the trip to Takoradi, meanwhile visiting Kosa Beach.

This year, thanks to the contacts we have built up in the last years, we stayed in a private house, where we were taken care of by Gina Loupiac. She also owns a very good restaurant in Takoradi and managed to provide us with three meals a day.

During the week we organised three teams

that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). In total 81 patients, of which six were children, where operated on. Again most of the patients presented with groin hernias. To our surprise in one patient with bilateral inguinal hernias, a volvulus of the sigmoid was found with necrosis, so a Hartmann’s procedure with a temporary colostomy had to be performed. Reversal of the colostomy is planned in November 2014, when Chris Oppong will visit Takarodi. After our return to Belgium we collected colostomy bags and other materials and sent them to Bernard Boateng to support this patient.

The motivation of the local hospital teams is good and the level of care by the nurse-anesthetists in the three hospitals is high. The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but structural changes should be made to the operating theatres. There is still the problem with the lack of running water.

On Friday evening we had our usual dinner with Bernard Boateng Duah and his wife at the the “Gilou” restaurant. Bernard explained to us that also in Takoradi the support of the project is questioned.

On Saturday morning we again visited the Takoradi harbour which is in a phase of new developments. Afterwards we drove to Kosa Beach again and stayed one night at this beach resort. On Sunday afternoon we drove back eastbound to Kotoka airport to leave for Europe again.

Conclusion: again a rewarding mission; the future developments are eagerly awaited.

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the Belgian – Italian Mission

Home and away team

Takoradi March 2013 Report of the Belgian – Italo – Dutch team. Visit from March 9 – March 17 2013.

Home and away team

Home and away team

In March 2013 a team of four Belgian surgeons (Myriam Bruggeman, Paul Van Acker, Marc Huyghe and Casper Sommeling) accompanied by an Italian surgeon (Cecilia Ceribelli), two registrars (Stijn Heyman from Belgium and Annelien Morks from the Netherlands) and a Belgian nurse (Pina Orlando) again visited Takoradi in Ghana. Our main financial sponsor still is the Belgian Section of Abdominal Wall Surgery. We brought meshes (kindly donated by Medri, Covidien Belgium, Bard Italy and Assut Europe), gloves (Cardinal Health/Medline), disposable drapes (Mölnlycke Belgium and Medline) and suture material (Johnson & Johnson). Resterilized polypropylene meshes and so called “Indian meshes” made part of our luggage. Local anesthetics, syringes and needles were donated by Bbraun an BD; only the lidocaine with adrenaline and heavy Marcain was bought by us in Belgium.

This way for Hernia Operation

This way for Hernia Operation

Recovery

Recovery

After arriving at Accra, late Saturday night, for the first time we stayed at the Ghana Baptist Mission. The following Sunday we made the trip to Takoradi, meanwhile visiting Kosa Beach.

Again “the girls” (Kate, Linda and Benedicte) took good care of us, although they had more difficulties than the years before due to the frequent power cuts. They even proposed us to switch to a hotel, but their “candle light suppers” were much appreciated by us. This year we were lucky to meet Brian Dixon again, who was on “holiday” in Takoradi; however this means trouble shooting for him as a second nature, or as he states it “there are no problems, only challenges”. He contributed again to our mission in several ways, mainly on a logistic level, but also on solving local problems. He even might have solved the problem of running water in Dixcove hospital.

Paul & Brian

Paul & Brian

During the week we organised three teams that rotated in the three different hospitals (Hernia Wing, GPHA and Dixcove). We performed 86 operations in 86 patients, of which nine were children. Again most of the adult patients presented with groin hernias. The total number of operations seems low for the total number of team members but we were plagued by power cuts and interfering caesarean sections. This year in the adult patients two-thirds (51/77) were operated under local anaesthesia, but loco-regional anaesthesia (26/77) was used as a standard in all three locations in the more demanding scrotal hernias, contributing to a better comfort of the patients. The children of course were operated under general anesthesia.

The motivation of the local hospital teams is good and the level of care of the nurse-anesthetics in the three hospitals is high. The equipment in the hospitals is of a reasonable level, but the Dixcove Hospital is in need of sharp scissors and new operation gowns. Although with three teams we still made long days, but once again it was rewarding.

After a long week hard work we had dinner at the the “Gilou” restaurant Friday night together with Bernard Boateng Duah and his wife. On Saturday we made a trip to Green Turtle Lodge, the nicest place to be at the Atlantic Coast, were again we spent a wonderful day. At Sunday morning our group split up. Marc started on a trip of ten days through Ghana. Paul and Myriam stayed another week in Takoradi for holiday; however they were motivated to operate on the patients that were left over from the first week in the GPHA-hospital, so the first two days of their holiday they operated eleven patients (included in the total of 86).

Pina stayed another two weeks in Takoradi to work in the hospital as part of her training to be a specialized nurse. Cecilia, Stijn, Annelien and Casper made the trip back to Accra with a stop at El Mina Castle. Conclusion: again a rewarding mission; if the future team will enclose again as much members as this year we might go to other places in Ghana. We once again want to thank Bernard Boateng for the organization at the local level: selecting the patients on forehand and helping us out during the week.

Special thanks to Brian Dixon, just because being there.

Casper Sommeling, on behalf of the Belgian – Italo – Dutch Mission

Team Ghana 2009

Hispano-Belgian Team, Takoradi, Ghana 14-22 FEBRUARY 2009

The Hispano-Belgian team consisting of Ramon Vilallonga (consultant from Spain), Pina Orlando (experienced nurse from Belgium) operated at in Takoradi from February 14-22. Unfortunately, Dr. Casper Sommeling, Dr. Martin Ruppert and the rest of the Belgian team couldn’t come and we had a very busy time in the theatre. We personally finished exhausted every day.

Team Ghana 2009

Team Ghana 2009

After arrival we drove to Takoradi in a raining night. We were welcomed at the guest house by Grace, Lillian and Kate, our hosts for the week who had a lot of pleasure in meeting again Pina because it was her second year.

Sunday we met Dr. Bernhard Boateng and discussed the surgical week . He had planned about 29 patients; 22 in the hernia wing and 7 in the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority hospital. We underwent for incisional hernias, mango, pineapple and one watermelon hernia repair. Also we had two cases of testicular hydrocoele and a testicular tumour. We performed also and emergency surgery in a patient with a strangulated hernia.

We had a very nice time with all the team there. The operation nurses helped a lot that everything was well organised, especially at the GPHA hospital. Everybody treated us very well and we danced even a lot, sandwiches were very nice

Dr. Bernhard Boateng spend a lot of precious time for us, in keeping us with some activities, even in the late afternoon. However we had time for visiting the harbour, play a game of golf with Georgina (The best golf player in Ghana) and some other activities. We even plan to organize a Golf tournament the next time we will go.

Local Children

Local Children

 

Part of the Team

Part of the Team

The last day in the hospital we were gratefully thanked by the team of nurses for the good works we did with presents. We got a special T-shirt of the hospital and lovely team pictures where taken. We also got one for our own album.

Also Dr Boateng and his team did think about our curves! Special Ghanaian chocolates where given to us by hart. We both were very touched with these gifts !

On Sunday after our arrival, we were taken to the beach and the last Saturday we visited the National Park of Kakum with the lovely guide Rebecca. Finally we went to Cape Coast and Accra where I was dropped to fly back to Spain and Pina picked up her whole family for another nice vacation trip around Ghana.

The Foundation Dr. Vilallonga www.fundacioramonvilallonga.org had taken material for 40 patients, including meshes, 200 bottles of local anaesthesia and Pina took plenty of presents for the kids but also for the friends. So our suitcases were empty at the end of the week. Everything went very well.

Dr Frank and Dr Bernhard deserved and received our deep respect for their work in Takoradi for treating all patients (children and adult) with all diseases (as surgeon, obstetrician etc) with relatively little is an immense responsibility. Also the nurses who we cannot forget because without their organisation we were able to operate. We hope we will be able to support them again.

We are keeping in touch with everybody, and all patients are going fine and will be followed up thru next teams and the local doctors .

The Hernia Wing and GPHA are well equipped but in the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority hospital theatre we ran out of electricity for 30 minutes and we performed the surgery with a lamp. The nurse asked me Aren t you going to continue, doctor?, I answered after some reflection Of Course . Than we used the flashy glasses whit led lights on who Pina took with her. We, the young surgeons have grown with the electrical cut. The nursing staff are well trained and fun to work with. They work very hard without complaining and put the well-being of their patients first. Dr Frank and Dr Bernard deserved and received our deep respect for their work in Takoradi. Running a hospital and being a generalist physician who treats all patients (children and adult) with all diseases (as surgeon, obstetrician etc) with relatively little is an immense responsibility. They deserve as much support as we can give.

We had a wonderful time thoroughly enjoying performing the operations, meeting Ghanaians and visiting parts of the country.

We will be back!

Ramon Vilallonga
Pina Orlando

Operating Ghana 2009

Operating Ghana 2009