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Foreign Ministry Supports Participation of Estonian Surgeons in Mission in Gambia

6. July 2011 - 12:19

No. 238-E

The Foreign Ministry is supporting the participation of Estonian surgeons in a humanitarian mission in Gambia. The goal of the Estonian surgeons who will be joining the mission in the fall of this year is to perform operations on people who need them, train local surgeons, and promote good health among the population.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that last year Estonian surgeons went to Gambia on a similar mission. “Since all parties agreed that the mission was very successful, the Gambian Ministry of Health issued a new appeal in which it requested the return of a surgical team to the hospital in Farafenni in order to help train doctors and carry out demonstration surgeries,” said Paet. “We decided to respond to Gambia’s appeal and this year three medical experts with prior experience in missions will be going to Africa,” he stated. The Estonian surgeons would once again like to focus on treating hernia patients.

Foreign Minister Paet added that the availability of medical aid in many African countries is extremely poor. “The population of Africa is large, but only 3% of all the world’s physicians work in that part of the world,” said Paet. “Therefore, for a lot of African residents these surgical missions are their only opportunity to get relief from a health problem,” he noted.

Operation Hernia Humanitarian Mission* is a volunteer organisation created by England in 2005 that actively organises surgical missions to various parts of the world. Surgeons are mainly sent to operate on hernia patients in less developed but relatively safe areas of Africa. Missions have primarily done work in Takoradi and Carpenter in Ghana. In 2010 activities were expanded to Cameroon, Nigeria, Mongolia and Ecuador.

The aforementioned missions generally last 1-2 weeks and the surgeons, who as a rule are members of the European Hernia Society, use equipment for surgeries that has been brought along from their home countries. The surgeons participating in the missions do the work voluntarily pro bono during their vacation time.

* Additional information:

+372 637 7654

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