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Vygon Helps Hernia Charity Deliver Life-Saving Operations 

Posted by Vygon (UK) Ltd  on 03-March-2016 
Vygon Helps Hernia Charity Deliver Life-Saving Operations

Procedure packs donated by Vygon have been used by specialist healthcare charity Hernia International to help deliver potentially life-saving surgery in Uganda.

The packs were taken to Africa by Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Penny Howell, from the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, who assisted with the operations at Bishop Caesar Asili Hospital in Luwero. During the week there, the team of five carried out 72 operations on patients ranging in ages from four to 83 years old.

Vygon supplies spinal and epidural needles to the anaesthesia team at Ipswich and when Account Manager Tom Martin heard about Penny’s trip he was keen to help. Liaising with his Vygon colleagues he was able to secure the needles within the spinal procedure packs so the team was also able to benefit from the other equipment in the packs to carry out the procedures.

This mission was the first to Uganda as a joint venture between Hernia International and the charity, Care for Uganda. Penny was working with consultant surgeons Mr Tim Brown and Mr Scott Caplin, surgical trainees John Whitaker and Sue Chandler, and Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) trainee Emily Adam.

The charity was specifically set up to treat inguinal hernia as it is the commonest, treatable surgical condition worldwide. Due to a lack of healthcare in low and middle-income countries, many hernias do not get treated. Men suffering large, incapacitating hernias can find their daily activities severely limited. At their worst, hernias can lead to complications and in Africa 50,000 men die as a result of these each year.

A cheap 30-minute operation, utilising mosquito net-derived mesh pioneered in India at negligible cost, can return a patient with an inguinal hernia to full health. The trip to Uganda was a huge success for the team and they hope to return again soon.

Dr Howell said: “The patients and the local staff were all very grateful for what we managed to achieve. They are already requesting another visit next year.

“I was really pleased to have the spinal kits as I was able to show the local junior anaesthetists at the hospital the advantages of pencil point needles and also how the use of an introducer can make spinal anaesthesia so much easier.

Dr Howell added: “We are very grateful for Vygon’s support. The essentials we take for granted make such a difference to the medical care that can be delivered to the local people of Uganda and therefore the quality of life they can enjoy.”

Photograph shows Dr Penny Howell preparing a patient for surgery.

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