Our Overseas Work
Sierra Leone in West Africa covers an area of 30,000 square miles and has a population of 5.5 million (WHO 2010). In 1992 the country entered a 10 year vicious civil war, which notoriously saw systematic amputations of an unimaginable scale.
The Holy Spirit Hospital (HSH) was established by Dr Turay and, with help from the Albano Diocese of Italy, now has 70 beds, an Outpatients Department, x-ray, a Pharmacy and two operating theatres.
From 2010 the British Society for Surgery of the Hand has funded nine visiting teams of Hand surgeons, from Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery, Anaesthetists, Hand Therapists and Nurses to the HSH. See a picture of one of the teams with the HSH staff here. Due to the ebola virus outbreak visits had to be stopped and will be reintroduced when it is safe.
In collaboration with ReSurge Africa , which is sponsoring the training of a local surgeon, the ultimate aim of the project is self-sustainability.
The programme has so far assessed over 850 patients and conducted over 230 operations. Often the problems are complex and require multiple operations in staged reconstructions. This is only possible due to the regular visits, full teams, accurate hand-overs and expertise. Visits have been suspended over the last year because of the ebola virus outbreak.
Barbara Jemec, Consultant Plastic Surgeon from the Royal Free Hospital, London visited Sierra Leone in September 2013. Here is the link to her blog http://royalfreenhs.wordpress.com/.
WORKING HANDS is a UK Registered Charity that raises funds for a surgical programme, currently based at a leprosy hospital in Nepal, supporting a team of Hand Surgeons who travel there to operate and to teach the local surgeons. Working Hands is independent, not linked to any major organization, and all donated funds find their way directly to the front line of treatment, purchasing equipment and consumables for each trip. Donald Sammut has received funds to promote the work of the charity, more information can be found here.
A new committee has been set up to look at all the Society's overseas work.
Reports on past visits to Sierra Leone