Article Text

  1. J. M. Harris
  1. University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Purpose The purpose of this community medicine project was to help start an inguinal hernia education program through the Ghana Red Cross Society and to create an informative brochure to be used in educating people about hernias. This project was undertaken after spending a few weeks in the general surgery department and witnessing dozens of hernia operations—the vast majority of which required extensive bowel resections—and subsequently discovering the gross misconceptions about hernias that exist among the local population.

Methods After determining that no outreach education existed on hernia prevention, a brochure was designed to answer some of the common questions and resolve many of the misconceptions people have about hernias. This information was then presented to the Ghana Red Cross Youth Educators in Kumasi who will present the information to high school age young men over the next school year. The brochure will also be used by general surgeons at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to educate their patients.

Summary The youth were targeted in order to maximize preventive efforts. Training trainers through the Red Cross ensured ongoing education.

Conclusions There are many reasons that Ghanaians postpone a hernia surgery until they are extremely ill. Medical costs, strong faith in herbal remedies, time constraints, and lack of information about hernias all contribute to life-threatening procrastination. If patients know that hernias cannot be repaired without surgical intervention and that acting sooner rather than later will save time, money, and possibly their lives, Ghanaians can be more empowered to make these important decisions.

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