Mercy Hospital outreach team was on a visit to Bevehun village when they encountered 6 year old John suffering from severe inguinal hernia. John was transmitted to the hospital and admitted as a "destitute" (his parents were not able to pay for his treatment.) The surgical staff assessed the child and scheduled surgery to repair the hernia, which was successful.
Inguinal hernia is a serious condition affecting all age groups in Sierra Leone. Activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure can cause a portion of the intestine to protrude through weakness in the abdominal wall. Heavy lifting, diarrhea, constipation, or persistent cough can all cause protrusion. Children in poor families may be especially vulnerable to hernias, as they may be carrying heavy water buckets or otherwise engaged in labor, and endemic diseases like typhoid and malaria create conditions that can lead to herniation. Left untreated, inguinal hernia can cause severe and even permanent damage to the intestines.
John's father Augustine was deeply appreciative that his child was successfully treated at no cost. John made a full recovery and was happily reunited with his family.