The first Medical Society meeting of 2019 welcomed Dr Johnathan Blanshard OE, a consultant ENT surgeon at North Hampshire Hospital, who talked about his experience doing charity work outside the UK and in particular, Nepal. Dr Blanshard initially trained in the UK, with some time spent in Australia as a part of that, and he later got involved with charity work setting up ear camps in countries like Guinea and Bangladesh.

His work led him to the Britain Nepal Ontology Service (BRINOS). He described how ear infections are very common in Nepal due to the poor sanitation and how 2.7 million out of the population’s 19 million have recurring ear infections – which can lead to deafness – due to the lack of accessible healthcare. The work of BRINOS includes setting up Community Ear Care Centres where locals can get an accurate diagnosis for when the team of surgeons from the UK comes for the triannual ear camps. BRINOS, with the help of Dr Blanshard, has helped increase the number of ENT surgeons in Nepal from 1 to 70 over the past 39 years and one of their more recent projects saw the completion of the BRINOS Ear Care Centre (BECC) in Nepalgunj in 2016.

Dr Blanshard also explained how BRINOS works in Nepal could be applied to the NHS. In the BECC, their one operating theatre has room for three surgeries to take place with one surgeon per patient. Compared to the one patient per theatre with around eight team members working on one patient, the NHS could take a few tips! Dr Blanshard finished with some valuable insight into some of the required skills to becoming a surgeon and the audience were left enlightened on a somewhat alternative, more rewarding option in their future medical careers.

William Webster