Our tenth mission to Korogwe

Hernia International: Korogwe, Tanzania November 2017 Report

This mission was the 10th  Hernia International team to visit Korogwe and the welcome and support that we received from Sister Avelina (lead surgeon) and all the staff was heart-warming. The team comprised Katharina (anaesthetist and excellent team leader from Switzerland), Michael (medical engineer from Switzerland), Margaret (RN from Great Britain), and the surgeons Christoph (from Switzerland), Stefan and Nico (from Germany). Most of the team had previously worked together on another mission so there was a nice feeling of 're-union'.



The custom check at Tanzania airport is quite strict especially for the (X-Ray-dense) surgical equipment.It was very helpful that Christoph was able to show the invitation letter from the ministry of health.



Coming from different destinations we met at the Trinity Airport Hotel and spend our first night there, and at 8am the following morning our transport arrived accompanied by Justin our escort (Korogwe dentist). The Land rover roof was packed high with our luggage and supplies and secured with a much needed tarpaulin to cover. There had been heavy rains the day of our arrival and the rain continued for most of our 7 hour journey to Korgowe (Michael likened it to a cloud hernia!). The traffic was pretty dense for the first hour until we hit the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, and the rains hampered our progress somewhat but we eventually arrived at the hospital at 4pm.

We were greeted by Sister Avelina and her team and without much delay taken to the ward where 30 patients waited patiently for review and assessment for surgery. The Korogwe staff had worked hard with their preparations and recruiting of hernia patients, and were very well organised. The next day's operating schedule was agreed and we then unpacked our supplies and set up the 3 operating rooms ready for work the next day. 

Our operating days started at 8am and usually finished by 6pm. We had superb hospital staff to work with, and the efficiency of the sterilising team was amazing - keeping up with supplying a stream of instruments and gowns throughout the day was constant work.



We completed 85 hernia procedures on 72 patients (19 female, 53 male). There were 18 children under 12 years (all had general anaesthesia). Most patients had inguinal or umbilical hernias, we operated 10 epigastric/incisional hernias, mainly in women. 7 adults had general anaesthesia. 27 adults had spinal anaesthesia and 21 had local anaesthesia. There were 6 particularly large/complicated hernias - one of which comprised a mini laparotomy and could be regarded as bordering on major surgery.