Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery
Advanced laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery consisting of inserting narrow tubes into a patient’s abdomen via small incisions. The tubes allow the surgeon to insert the cameras and surgical instruments needed to operate on a patient without opening up the body. While this is common in the United States, lesser developed countries lack the required resources to support this type of surgery. As a result, United Surgeons for Children has stepped in launching a program to offer minimally invasive surgeries for children in the Ivory Coast.
How USFC Supports Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery in West Africa
Laparoscopic surgery helps patients feel less postoperative pain, lowers the risk of infection, and results in less scarring than traditional surgical methods. While many countries use this tool, West African nations such as the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin, & Guinea have historically lacked this option. However, starting in 2021, USFC launched a program based out of the Mother and Child Hospital of Bingerville in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The goal of the program is to mitigate the lack of access to non-invasive surgery options. The hospital was built in 2015 with modern amenities, three operating rooms, and state-of-the-art medical equipment and infrastructure.
This program has come to life thanks to our partnership with the Necker Childrens’ Hospital in Paris & the International Hospital Cooperative of the Assistance Public Hospital of Paris. The program’s medical leader is Dr. Naziha Khen-Dunlop, a pediatric surgeon at the Necker Childrens’ Hospital. Dr. Khen-Dunlop frequently collaborates with USFC performing pediatric digestive surgery.
Providing Medical Training to Doctors in West African Nations
Our program follows the successful model of Dr. Yann Révillion’s Diploma of Specialized Studies in Pediatric Surgery. This project has brought together some of the best trained surgical minds in West Africa including:
- Dr. Assoman Bernabe ASSI from Abidjan, Ivory Coast
- Dr. Ndeye Aby N’Doye from Dakar, Senegal
- Dr. Médard Guedenon from Cotonou, Benin
- Dr. Thierno Sadou Barry from Conackry, Guinea
This mission will run for two consecutive years with two missions per year in 2021 and 2022. Each mission we will bring experts from Europe and the US to the field, to share skills, experiences, and best practices with local doctors. This will take place in the form of medical training missions, monthly interactive remote surgery training seminars, and remote medical meetings to discuss and collaborate on diagnoses. We feel that our continuous training commitment to this region will help these doctors build their skills.
Eventually, the goal is that the doctors who have been trained by our teams will go on to train other doctors, those doctors train other doctors, and so on. This collaboration builds, what we like to call, the chain of hope because when doctors receive training, more patients can be treated.
Make the Bingerville MCH Hospital a Hub for Laparoscopic Surgical Training
One of the biggest barriers to effective training can be distance. In previous training missions, we’ve had to fly doctors to France to receive training and fly them back. This is timely, costly, and less effective. To overcome these barriers and thanks to generous donations from people like you, we were able to fund the creation of a centralized hospital in the Ivory Coast.
The Bingerville Mother-Child Hospital has access to expertly trained staff and the latest medical technology within a state-of-the-art facility.
About Our 1st Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery Mission and Future Missions in West Africa
As part of our commitment to the region, our team conducted a mission from July 12th-16th, 2021. During this time, Dr. Khen-Dunlop from Dakar, Senegal, and her operating room nurse Vanessa operated on 19 patients between the ages of 1 to 12 years old. These patients required laparoscopic surgery to treat ailments such as ectopias and hernias.
The mission also allowed us to assess the equipment needed to support our next mission. During our next scheduled mission to the region, in December 2021, we will bring an anesthesiologist, two surgeons who will train other surgeons, and a junior surgeon.
Overcoming the Complications of Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopic surgery has been used in the United States and European nations for over 20 years. One of the complications of laparoscopic surgery is that it has not been readily available in Africa. Naturally, this is because laparoscopic surgery requires special equipment and instruments that are expensive to purchase. In addition, there is a high level of training associated with performing such a procedure.
These barriers present some of the biggest complications of laparoscopic surgery becoming widespread and accessible in Africa. However, thanks to contributions from our donor base, partner organizations, and volunteers, we’re bringing this much-needed medical procedure to areas that need it most.
How You Can Support Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery for People In Need
Unfortunately, there are still billions of people throughout the world without access to this type of procedure. Above all, USFC wants to bring people in need the medical care they require. To do this, we have to provide medical equipment, infrastructure, and training in these areas of need. We can only continue to do this through contributions from donors like you. Please consider donating to support our efforts around the world.