Al Wakra Hospital (AWH) is working towards becoming a center of excellence in hernia surgery by updating the skills of its surgeons through capacity building training workshops.

The hospital aims to receive accreditation from the American Hernia Society. Around 50 surgeons from across HMC, primary healthcare centers and other local hospitals have taken part in one of such workshops on hernia surgery organized recently at the hospital.

Senior Consultant in General Surgery at AWH, and workshop chairman, Dr Mohamed Soliman El Akkad, said:

We are holding the workshop as part of efforts to become accredited and accepted worldwide as a center of excellence for hernia surgery. We have invited Professor Tim Tollens from Imelda Hospital in Belgium, who is a world-renowned expert in laparoscopic surgery, to help us establish this center of excellence here. Last year, about 250 cases were treated at AWH, and the number of cases is expected to increase.’

According to Dr Tamer El Bakry, Senior Specialist and member of the AWH hernia surgical team, around 1,000 cases of different types of hernia are being treated at HMC yearly.

Hernia is a condition where there is a protrusion of the contents of the abdomen through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. Hernia can either be congenital or due to muscle weakness. It can be debilitating and interfere with the patient’s daily activities, and can also cause serious and life-threatening complications if neglected or treated at a late stage.

Adding that treatment of hernia can be done either through open or conventional surgery, or through laparoscopic surgery, Dr El Akkad said:

Patients who are doing physical work usually come at an early stage before the pain interferes with their daily activities, but patients who are not doing physical labor tend to come late – these are mostly women.’

Hernia doctors at Al Wakra HospitalHead of General Surgery at AWH, Dr Ahmad El Faki, explained that the workshop included a live transmission of operations involving four different cases of hernia. He said:

We have previously done complicated cases and during the current workshop we did minor cases so that our doctors can learn from Prof. Tollens’s wide experience in the field.’

Consultant, General Surgery at AWH, Dr. Hisham Ibrahim Allam, said the planned center of excellence will be dedicated to all types of hernia surgery ranging from simple cases to very complicated ones. He mentioned that the Middle East Hernia Society has been launched during the workshop. Dr Allam explained that the society was launched to enhance teaching of junior doctors, promote the publication of the hospital’s scientific works, and promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise in the field. He said:

 We are planning to do the first conference for hernia surgery in the Middle East by the end of the year.’

Professor Tim Tollens commended the quality of care for hernia patients at AWH, saying:

The setup for hernia care in Al Wakra Hospital is phenomenal. Equipment-wise everything is there, but more importantly, the people that I have met in the previous days are extraordinary. It would be a pleasure and an honor to be part of this team. I have an ongoing supportive relationship for hernia and maybe even for other types of surgery.’

Prof. Tollens said opening a center of excellence for hernia at AWH will help promote early referral and treatment of patients, observing that in Qatar, people sometimes wait for 10-15 years before they see a doctor or come to a stage where the hernia has become debilitating, which increases the risk of complications.