Mission to Senegal, West Africa 16-20 January 2023
It was a real pleasure to be asked to join a group of Urologists planning a teaching course in Senegal. It had been a long time since I had travelled to West Africa. The course and the visit was organised via Zoom by the renowned Prof Serigne Magueye Gueye based in Dakar. His generosity was immediately obvious when our suitcases were ‘stranded’ in Madrid; we need not have worried!
As usual the first day of the mission allowed us to examine our patients. One was pleasantly surprised that I did not think an operation was necessary as his groin hernia hadn’t changed significantly since a prostatectomy – and he had walked 8km a day since then! I explained that was more than I walked in a week and so this was clearly a successful outcome from a ‘watch and wait’ approach. This formed an ‘educational nugget’ for the attending trainees. Lectures followed in the afternoon on the cost effectiveness of mosquito net mesh in the groin hernias. This was a new concept and I was later able to leave 30 prosthetics at the end of the visit when I did stress that correct/accurate steam sterilization is paramount. I performed 12 hernia repairs (1 ventral) all but one with spinal anaesthesia, over three days. As usual they were large (not always reducible) and often had a sliding component! Welcome back to the ‘neglected’ African groin I pondered. None were performed as day cases per se but all went home the next day.
As always we were spoilt with most generous hospitality. The local shopping was colourful, not duty-free but always hassle-free! Finally we were reminded of the victims of the Atlantic slave trade on visiting Goree Island and the House of Slaves with its infamous Door of No Return.
We all relished our (too) short a stay and hope to return in the future.
Ayo Kalejaiye (Urologist)
David J Ralph (Urologist)
Brian M Stephenson (General surgeon)