MEDICAL staff from Wearside are preparing for their ninth trip to Asia to help disadvantaged people overcome serious health problems.
Each year for almost a decade, a team of doctors and nurses have carried out life-changing operations at Walawalkar Hospital, in Dervan, on the West coast of India, and in outreach camps.
During their visits, the team, some of who work at Sunderland Royal Hospital, have helped around 1,000 patients through operations including restoring sight, correcting facial deformities, carrying out hernia repairs and replacing joints.
Dr Sanjay Deshpande, consultant anaesthetist at South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, originally had the idea for the medical mission.
As well as the support of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, the trip is also being backed by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Spire Washington Hospital, as well as Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, among others.
Dr Deshpande said: “Everyone who goes is a volunteer and we raise the money ourselves throughout the year to cover the cost of travel and shipping of equipment.
“It is such a rewarding experience knowing that you are able to make a huge difference to people’s lives, often through what would be considered in this country as a relatively simple operation.”
Anyone interested in making a contribution to the group’s trip, whether financially, or in donating books, clothing and equipment for the volunteers to take with them, can contact Dr Deshpande on 202 4046 or Dave Wales on 202 4142.