A group of specialised theatre nurses and a surgeon from South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) will travel to Tanzania this November to conduct life-saving operations through the charity Hernia International.
In rural Africa caesarean section and hernia are the most common elective surgical procedures. But both of these operations are carried out much less frequently than required with the result that neglected hernias can result in death and physical incapacity. 
Since hernias are so common this burden of neglect falls disproportionately on hernia sufferers. 
SWAH surgeon Dr. Aleksander Stanek is leading a team to Tanzania at the end of this year to provide voluntary surgery to as many patients as possible during their week-long mission.
Hernia International organises over 20 hernia missions annually. This will be Dr. Stanek’s sixth mission.
His passion to make a difference in rural Africa comes as a result of his two years spend working in Nigeria as the only consultant and head of department in a region with with a huge population.
“When you go to Africa once, you will always want to go back,” he told the Impartial Reporter, “I always had a plan to go back again but I didn’t know in what way.
“I knew Hernia International existed so I offered my skills. I want to continue doing this until my own retirement.”
The concept of the organisation is to provide hernia treatment for free.
“We are all volunteering,” said Dr. Stanek, “We pay for everything - for flights, accommodation, materials, everything.
“This year, the plan is different - we will be taking specialised nurses out to help train and assist.
“The nurses here are doing an incredible job raising money for the mission and raising awareness of what this mission is all about.
“This is not going to be a holiday - there will be a lot of work to be done.
“We will be working from 8am until dusk with a maximum of three theatres, seeing around 25 patients a day. That would be more than we do locally per month.”
He said the situation in Africa is severe.
“Every day more people die in Africa from complications of hernia than from HIV. This is very serious - our work is vital.
“Over here, we do not understand how difficult the situation is for people. People die from hernias, especially if they cannot afford the surgery.”
The team will not only be bringing their skills and experience to Tanzania, but vital materials too.
“Dressings, disinfectants - all of those things which will be incredibly helpful because their resources are so limited,” explained the surgeon.”
The team of local nurses have organised a special Gin Masterclass evening to raise money for their mission. 
The event will take place at Blakes of the Hollow on May 25, beginning at 8pm.
For more information on the Gin Night or to purchase tickets, contact 07794642288. 
To donate to the mission go to: www.gofundme.com/nurses-volunteering-in-Tanzania