Senegal has long been one of the most stable democracies in Africa. However, compared to the United States, physicians there lack many resources. Recently, a team of Brigham physicians traveled to the country’s capital city of Dakar to teach a course in collaboration with the African Center of Excellence for Mother and Child at Cheikh Anta Diop University (also known as the University of Dakar) on minimally invasive techniques for gynecological surgery. Through a series of lectures and live surgeries, physicians taught these techniques, helping the local physicians understand how they might perform them safely with their limited resources.
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Chief of Gynecology James Greenberg, MD, and Director of the Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and BWFH surgeon Jon Einarsson, MD, were among the group of physicians conducting the week-long course organized by Senegal native and Associate Obstetrician Gynecologist at BWH Khady Diouf, MD.
The course began with a day of lectures conducted in English and translated to French. This was followed by three days of lectures and live surgeries performed on local patients in the local hospital with local operating room staff. The live surgeries were broadcast to the audience in a remote conference room as well as observed by some participants in person.
“It was inspiring to spend a few days in Senegal with the surgeons and staff in Dakar. The participants were highly motivated and well educated, but they are lacking some basic equipment and training in order to be able to offer safe surgical options to their patients,” says Einarsson.
“The hard part for them, which we talked about in the course, is understanding what are the essential components and what are the luxuries. Differentiating between those two can be difficult,” says Greenberg. “We tried to help them identify reusable instruments and basic equipment that they would need so that they can do this in a reproducibly safe and cost-effective manner.”