Report on Conference on Surgery and Anesthesia in Uganda

Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Dr. John Sampson and Joanna Ashworth, Director, SFU

Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Dr. John Sampson and Joanna Ashworth, Director, SFU

April 2, 2011 Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, B.C.

This 2nd conference, hosted by the UBC Branch for International Surgery, held to enhance surgical care partnerships in Uganda through strategic collaboration, brought together over 80 professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers, administrators, etc.) from Canada, the USA and Uganda, to discuss how to foster strong scholarly collaborations, how to meet the challenges of developing a strong health care system, how to scale responsibilities (ex.: shift tasks to non-physicians) and how to create strong egalitarian partnerships.

Because similar challenges face KBNF in Ghana and West Africa (Uganda being in East Africa, on the western border of Kenya), Dr. John Sampson, Neuro-anesthesiologist and President of DrUMM (KBNF’s USA partner) and Dr. Jocelyne Lapointe, Neuroradiologist and KBNF Chair of Education attended the meeting.

Some of the ways discussed to advance the vision and mission of our organizations include:

  • Creating partnerships with medical, nursing and allied health training programs and integrating the needs of the curricula with visits from overseas volunteers. These collaborations must benefit the African institutions, in particular their infrastructure and their research capabilities. Reciprocity between institutions would be ideal.
  • Because primary training in Europe and North America does not result in an increase in trained individuals on home ground, short training periods with very specific skills sets would be useful, in addition to training as close to home as possible.
  • Reasonable career paths for graduates and sustainable income for professionals need to be addressed by local governments for retention to occur.
  • Use of teleconferencing (Skype) and coordinating committee (Google Calendar) to help avoid repetitions/redundancies and to promote transparency, to foster mutual respect and advance mutually agreed to goals.

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