Platform for NGOs and Specialist and Professional Bodies

Over the last few months a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to create the NGO platform on InterSurgeon. I am pleased to be able to tell you that this work is almost complete and we are in the final phase of development and plan to do a full launch at the upcoming G4Alliance meeting in Manila in just over two weeks’ time. In order that the NGOs can get maximum benefit from the site we are going to open InterSurgeon membership to all surgically related specialities and so you will see a major expansion of areas in which people can become members. Until each speciality has a developed profile these new members will not benefit from the matching feature of the website but as each of the speciality profiles is developed the full potential of the website will be achieved. Now is a good time to start spreading the word amongst your surgical colleagues in other specialities and this will include anaesthesia, nursing and equipment. We will let you know when the full launch takes place and this will be the signal for them to join.

A Screenshot of the NGO Platform which is in final development
A Screenshot of the NGO Platform which is in final development

EANS Meeting Dublin September 25th

On another note, we have just had a very successful Global Neurosurgery session at the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) meeting in Dublin. Six of the eight panellists were InterSurgeon members and InterSurgeon was mentioned by each of them in their presentations! We began with a welcome message from Dr Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland, who pledged his support for the meeting and for Global Surgery in general. His words were then expanded by Eric O’Flynn from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland who described the College’s efforts in education in LMICs.

Our next speaker was Emmanuel Makasa from Zambia who was unfortunately not able to join us but prepared a presentation, which we were able to give in his absence, describing the scaling up of surgical services in Africa and the potential offered by collaborations between Africa and Europe. He invited the EANS to board the Global Surgery train before it departed! EANS President, Jesus Lafuente, then described his experience of working in Africa and his aim in setting up his own organisation to further Global Neurosurgery. Jesus has even been in a meeting with HH the Pope to get support for his work.

Dieter Class from Germany and Jose Piquer from Spain then described their experiences setting up neurosurgical programmes in the Cameroon and in Zanzibar. They both stressed the need to understand the local environment and to work in collaboration with local teams. Dieter told us how important continuing dialogue after visits can be and the need for continued discussion via internet including scan assessment and case discussion. The use of tailored solutions locally, such as subgaleal shunts, can often provide very satisfactory lower cost answers to widespread problems. Jose described the transformative work that NED has done in Zanzibar which has done a huge amount to address imbalance and develop teaching and training.

Gail Rosseau, InterSurgeon Champion for Adult neurosurgery, then presented the role of the G4Alliance in Global Surgery and the importance of ‘Encore Careers’. The reskilling of Neurosurgeons at the tail end of their careers so that they can work more effectively in low resource settings is something that the AANS and WFNS have started, following pioneering work in other surgical disciplines. Gail presented the feedback from the course run at the recent AANS meeting, plans for future courses and finally the importance of the G4Alliance as an advocate to address the surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthetic deficits that occur globally.

We were then joined by Roba Khundar from the Oxford Global Surgery programme who highlighted the importance of Global Surgery in academia and how it is now very much in the ascendency. She outlined opportunities in Global Surgery in the UK and contrasted them with North America and other parts of Europe. Academic Global surgery is now something that all surgeons in HICs can aspire to but of course it needs to be in close collaboration through partnerships with similar institutions in LMICs.

Last, but by no means least, Moody Qureshi, President of the Continental Association of African neurosurgical Societies (CAANS), chose to demonstrate how Global Neurosurgery was contributing to the UN General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals and specifically to goals 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), 4 (Quality Education) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). He described his experience in the field over the last 18 years and international partnerships created, particularly through the WFNS, FIENS, NED and other organisations. He also stressed the importance of local regional partnerships which allow collaboration between teams experiencing similar problems in establishing and strengthening neurosurgical services. Moody summarised by outlining the potential for creating an EANS/CAANS collaborative partnership in training and education and how this would benefit neurosurgeons in Africa and Europe alike.

Panellists for the EANS Session on Global Neurosurgery Chaired by Katya Adler, BBC Europe Editor
Panellists for the EANS Session on Global Neurosurgery Chaired by Katya Adler, BBC Europe Editor

Upcoming Meetings

This week sees the WOFAPS meeting in Qatar at which we will be updating our paediatric surgical colleagues about InterSurgeon and then as mentioned above we will be at the G4Alliance meeting in Manila on November 19th-21st. In December there will be a Global Surgery session at the AANS/CNS joint pediatric section and then in the New Year the fourth GICS meeting is being held in Johannesburg, RSA from January 16th–18th. Lots of opportunity for us to spread the word and if you are attending any meeting and would like slides about InterSurgeon then please get in touch with William who can give you up to date slides.