Honour for Northampton doctor performing hernia ops in Ghana

A group of volunteers from the NHS and Ghanaian health professionals inside a hospital
Image caption,Many of Mr Hicks’s NHS colleagues join him on trips to Ghana to perform surgery

A doctor who has performed hundreds of hernia operations in a West African country said he is “humbled and incredibly proud” to be awarded an MBE.

Robert Hicks, a consultant at Northampton General Hospital (NGH), set up a charity to help provide equipment, healthcare facilities and medical education to a community in Ghana.

His team performed 90 operations in nine days on a recent trip.

His charity also helped to build a hospital.

Mr Hicks started his work in Carpenter, an area of northern Ghana, in 2011, and initially worked with a worldwide charity, Hernia International.

He said: “Repairing hernias reduces suffering, pain and in some cases prevents death from strangulation of the bowel.

“Most Ghanaian patients are farmers reliant on working to support their families – by having their hernias repaired, the patients are able to return to work and continue providing for their families.”

Two men in blue scrubs and woman in white t-shirt
Image caption,Robert Hicks’s wife Jo and son Ted have both been involved in the project

In 2018, he and his wife, Jo, set up a Northamptonshire-based charity, Hernia International Carpenter, with Anne Smith who is a consultant surgeon at NGH.

The charity organised regular trips with teams of people, including volunteers from NGH, who carried out surgeries.

It also worked with Canadian and Ghanaian charities to create the Leyaata Hospital in Carpenter, which opened in 2022.

Hernia International Carpenter is now working to raise enough funds to develop a centre for health education and research.

‘Well deserved’

Anne Smith said: “Rob’s passion for his work in Ghana inspired me to join with the UK team in 2017 as a team paediatrician.

“For over 10 years, he has stepped outside of his comfort zone to selflessly reduce this health inequality, whilst also training local surgeons to ensure sustainable healthcare in this region.

“This honour is well deserved.”

Group of people mainly in blue or green scrubs
Image caption,Robert Hicks has made nine trips to Ghana, including this one in 2018

NGH’s medical director, Hemant Nemade, said: “Robert, and all of our staff who have been involved in this amazing work, travel to Ghana in their own time and have made an enormous contribution to many hundreds of patients in that country.”

Mr Hicks said he http://caridimanaka.com/ was “humbled and incredibly proud by the recognition the MBE brings for all the work of our Charity for those people who live in this underserved region of Ghana in a way that has far exceeded my expectations”.

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