HERNIA operations may be considered routine in the UK but in many countries this basic operation is not available.

Bournemouth-based surgeon Andrew Clarke has been helping to change that, partnering Operation Hernia and Nuffield Health, to travel to Ghana and perform life-saving hernia operations, including one on a 12-year-old girl.

Andrew joined two surgeons to perform more than 100 surgeries on men, women and children, suffering from debilitating hernias and hydroceles with medical supplies provided by Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital.

“Hernias are a huge problem in third world countries where a high percentage of work is manual, such as farming," said Andrew. "If someone is malnourished and undertaking vast amounts of strenuous activity, this can cause a painful hernia that can be disabling to sufferers."

During his trip, for which he was not paid, and funded his own travel costs, Andrew taught junior doctors to increase their experience and enable more operations to take place in the future.

“One afternoon we were visited by a 12-year-old girl who was fatally ill, but with our help, she recovered in a matter of days," he said. "I'm so grateful to Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital for their very generous donations of medical supplies, without which we may not have been able to conduct as many procedures as we did.”

Operation Hernia is a charity and relies solely on donations to fund its efforts. For more information please visit www.operationhernia.org.uk