Aleks Stanek leads second team to Gatundu

Hernia International Team to Gatundu Hospital, Kenya (June 2015)

This was the 2nd mission to Gatundu Hospital, Kenya and was enthusiastically led by Aleksander Stanek, a surgeon from the UK. The team also included Gregory Wirth, a urologist from Switzerland, Petr Bystricky and Lucas Kohoutek, both general surgeons from the Czech Republic and Tamsyn Clark, a junior doctor from the UK. Several of the team had previous hernia mission experience and Mr Stanek had also worked in Africa for several years, all of which were invaluable the smooth running of the mission. 

Gatundu Hospital has around 70 beds (although soon to be superseded by the new hospital funded by the Chinese government). The operating theatre was equipped with 2 tables, one of which was sometimes used for emergency caesarean sections. There was one diathermy machine, some basic theatre lighting, an anaesthetic machine per table, gowns, drapes, antibiotics, adequate trays and some sutures. Sterilisation of equipment was done off site as the autoclave was not working during our stay. Our team brought mosquito meshes, disposable diathermy pens, a variety of sutures, ties, masks, gloves, gowns, scrubs, shoes, head torches and hand disinfectant. For future teams, extra needle holders, clips and sharp scissors would be useful to bring.

  

Over 5 days of operating, the team performed 52 procedures, 15 of which were paediatric. There were 47 hernia operations, of which 6 were incisional hernias and 2 were life saving procedures in patients with strangulated hernias. Most were performed under spinal with some under local or GA thanks to availability of a local anaesthetist. Post-operative recovery was excellent for all cases with most fit enough to go home same day or day 1 post-op.

It was evident through the commitment of local staff how important the mission was for Kenyan patients. Extra staff had been draughted in for the week and a ward opened up where we were able to see the patients for the next day and compile our theatre list. There were a few glitches mainly delayed start time and delay between cases, but this did not hinder the overall success of the mission.

The 4 surgeons in the team also tutored local doctors in basic surgical skills and relevant anatomy. By the end of the week, one local doctor was able to perform inguinal hernia repair from skin to skin, preparing him well for future procedures.

  

Throughout the stay at Gatundu Hospital, we were made to feel wholly welcome. Lunch was provided each day including delicious Mukimo, enjoyed by all. We stayed in the comfortable Ruiru Rainbow Resort near Thika town, around a 30 minute drive from the hospital. Facilities and wifi were excellent. Our driver was organised by the hospital and ensured we were safely transported to and from the airport, hospital and for sightseeing, accompanied by his excellent taste in music.

Tamsyn Clark

Junior doctor