The Out to Africa team, led by surgeon Tom Browne, have returned from their latest teaching trip to Lusaka, Zambia.
The team of four - Tom, John Prionidis, Venkatesh Jayanthi and Royce Solomni – were welcomed by an official from the Zambian ministry of health who thanked the group for their continued support of work at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.
Tom describes the Zambian health service as “desperately deprived” and the team provide vital expertise to the local health professionals.
Out to Africa was founded by Tom in 2010 and has run 16 training courses across seven specialities at UTH. Tom and Venkatesh were on their seventh and third trips respectively, but it was a first time for John Prionidis.
“John Prionidis had been asked to give an arterio/venous fistula teaching course for kidney failure patients to ten senior surgical registrars and consultants,” said Tom. “There is only one vascular consultant in Zambia, Michael Mbambiko, and as you can imagine, he gets quite overwhelmed.
“John delivered a state-of-the-art A/V fistula course, and all participants who completed the course received certificates of attendance which they highly value.
“Royce, who originally trained in the University Teaching Hospital, was her usual magnificent self - great with the staff and performing miracles in getting things moving on a daily basis.
“And Venkatesh was hailed like a returning knight in shining armour as many of the staff remembered his initial visit with great joy. Patients came out of the woodwork - including a high court judge - to have Venkatesh teach and demonstrate laparoscopic surgery.”
Out to Africa’s surgeons have initiated seven laparoscopic training courses at UTH have gone a long way towards embedding minimal access surgery in that part of sub-Saharan Africa.
“Our next challenge is to address the most pressing need of financing a cleaner hospital,” added Tom. “Hand sanitisers and clean bed area curtains would go a long way to address this. We are working on an idea for the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka to become financially self-sufficient. Anyone with an expertise in this area would be warmly welcomed on board the Out to Africa team.”