Neurosurgery in Uganda
Neurologic diseases are among the most disabling and burdensome conditions affecting low-resourced populations. However, the infrastructure and human resources available to address this growing entity in the poorest countries are inadequate.
Dr. Michael Dewan, Boston Children’s Hospital’s first Global Neurosurgery Fellow, is working to define the current burden of neurosurgical disease worldwide as well as the surgeon workforce and tools needed to meet this need. Identifying parts of the developing world with the highest neurosurgical volume and the fewest available resources will allow targeted interventions to maximize the number individuals receiving life-saving surgery. He spent nine months in Uganda working under the guidance of Dr. Warf. Their goal is to enhance and formalize a training program for pediatric neurosurgeons operating in low and middle income countries.
Neurosurgery in Peru
This craniofacial mission is a 1 week experience, combined with craniofacial plastic surgeons and pediatric anesthesiologists from other hospitals. Resident Dr. Jordan Magarik traveled to Peru in 2017 with Dr. Christopher Bonfield providing care for patients with craniofacial problems, largely focusing on craniosynostosis.
Neurosurgery in Tanzania/Zanzibar
Tanzania/Zanzibar mission is a 1 or 2 week experience in Tanzania. Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Bonfield and Nurse Practitioner Haley Vance have visited various hospitals in the past to perform myelomeningocele and encephalocele closures, hydrocephalus treatment, and cranial and spine trauma. Dr. Thompson recently traveled to Tanzania this summer with Dr. Bonfield and Haley to a new hospital which is primarily focused on neurosurgical conditions. While there the team performed more elective type neurosurgical procedures, such as lumbar degenerative stenosis procedures, as well as some brain tumor operations.
Neurosurgery in Sri Lanka
The traditional Tamil homeland in the Northeast of Sri Lanka has been ravaged by war for over 35 years. Head trauma, spine trauma, and stroke are prevalent, but this region with nearly 3 million people is without any neurosurgeons. Dr. Ahilan Sivaganesan’s long-term mission is to play a small part in helping uplift this nation by teaching the fundamentals of operative and non-operative neurosurgery to local surgeons and physicians. In June of this year, Dr. Sivaganesan began this effort by teaching general surgeons and residents at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital the basics of head and spine trauma management. He also co-directed a two-day Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS) course for 200+ nurses, medical students, residents, and attending physicians from across the region. Without the support and encouragement of his own neurosurgery department here at Vanderbilt, this would not have been possible. To build on this initial trip, he is now beginning to create practical guides for neurotrauma management (in both print and online form) that physicians and surgeons on the ground (in Sri Lanka and potentially elsewhere) can use to guide their care of patients.