Two consultant paediatric surgeons from St George’s are about to embark on a three week charity mission to Nepal as part of a project to perform life-changing operations for communities without proper access to healthcare.

Zahid Mukhtar and Shabnam Parkar will travel to Nepal in May with Jessica Ng (paediatric surgical registrar at Royal London) and 20 other NHS professionals to work in rural communities. The team has used their annual leave and paid their own travel costs to make the trip.

St George’s surgeon Mr Mukhtar (pictured) was inspired to take up medicine by the death of his sister Naseem from gastroenteritis. He said: “I came [to the UK] when I was really young but spent quite a lot of my childhood staying with my grandma.

“That is when I really understood the lives of poor farmers in the mountains and the total lack of healthcare, particularly for children. My grandmother was my greatest influence.

“She was uneducated but very wise. She felt it was a total injustice that children would die from such simple things. She would take me to the children’s cemetery. That has made me do what I’m doing.

“The way my mother dealt with grief was to talk to me about my sister — how she went from one quack to another to try and get help. These times as a child influence what you do.”

Established in 2009 through the charity Health Partnership Nepal, the mission typically sees over 2,000 people and performs about 100 life-changing operations each year.

Mr Mukhtar was part of the St George’s team that last week performed ground-breaking emergency surgery on the world’s youngest ever patient; 23-week-old Abiageal Peters.

Notes to Editors

To find out more about Health Partnership Nepal visit their website: