Pioneering surgeons are setting off on their second medical mission to Ghana in a battle to save lives.
A team from Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals are giving up their own holiday time to carry out kidney transplants in Third World countries where patients would otherwise die.
The group of 11, including surgeons, nurses and theatre staff, also plan to spend time training local Ghanaian medical staff so they can build up their own transplant programme.
They carry out mercy missions planned by charity Transplant Links, which desperately needs donations towards medical equipment, flights and other facilities to continue the lifesaving work.
Andrew Ready, transplant surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston, said: “As one of the leading transplant units in Europe, we are well placed to share our skills with others.
“Our work with countries such as Ghana is valuable not only because of the saving of lives now, but also developing medical skills for many years to come.
“These missions also impact on medical care for the people of Birmingham, as our local patients continue to be cared for by those who not only possess pioneering skills, but also have a real passion for their work.”
The charity, set up by a group of British doctors to save people affected by severe kidney disease, needs to raise £1,000 for each member of the team who travels out.
During the last successful visit to Ghana in November, three living kidney transplants were carried out, including the first ever living kidney transplant performed in Ghana.
Charles Antwi, who was the first living kidney transplant recipient in Ghana and received a kidney from his sister, said: “Since my father went bankrupt, I could not pay dialysis bills, let alone the costs of other drugs. “There are no words that can express the joy and extreme levels of gratitude that we feel for the high level of love, dedication and compassion that the entire medical team displayed.”
Dr Jennie Jewitt-Harris, chief executive of Transplant Links, said: “We work closely with the Ghanaian medical team before we arrive, helping to select and prepare patients and one or more of our kidney doctors always stays behind for some time after the mission to ensure continuity of care.”