Patients in one of the poorest areas of India can look forward to better, pain-free lives following a visit by a volunteer medical team, led by staff from South Tyneside District Hospital.
The group of about 20 - mainly from South Tyneside, Sunderland, Gateshead, Durham and Newcastle hospitals - gave up their own time to perform more than 100 life-changing procedures during an intensive, six-day period at Walawalkar Hospital in Dervan, on India’s west coast.
The specialities involved included urology, plastic, orthopaedic, eye and general surgery, gynaecology, radiology, anaesthetics, physiotherapy, and acute pain management.
It was the 13th time that the annual trip had been arranged through the SVJC Trust charity.
Dr Sanjay Deshpande, consultant anaesthetist at South Tyneside District Hospital, originally had the idea for the medical mission after visiting Walawalkar while on a family holiday to India in 2005.
He was impressed by the dedication and commitment of the medical staff there, despite their limited resources.
He said: “It is sometimes easy to forget how fortunate we are to have the NHS.
“It is an amazing experience for us to go to Walawalkar Hospital and, through what would be considered in this country as relatively simple operations, be able to help people whose quality of life would be significantly reduced if they were left untreated.”
Money is raised throughout each year to cover the cost of travel and shipping of equipment for the medical mission.
Anyone interested in making a contribution, or in donating books, clothing and equipment, can contact Dr Deshpande on 0191 2024046.
To find out more about the SVJC Trust go to www.svjctrust.co.uk