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 Documenting all

Documenting all

I was in Northern Nigeria at the end of January for a couple of weeks to visit with one of the world’s most experienced fistula surgeons and see the centers he has established over the last few decades. Dr. Kees Waaldijk is a surgical mentor of mine for over the last 10 years. He single-handedly has done the most fistula repairs of anyone in the world, over 25,000. Dr. Waaldijk is one of the best vaginal and fistula surgeons I have ever worked with. The execution of expertly placed suture, the precision of an incision and the economy of motion (as I teach it to my residents and trainees) is a beautiful thing to witness. That, coupled with meticulous documentation of each operation and outcome, is a good as it gets.

 Notes on instruments and inventory

Notes on instruments and inventory

As IMR is preparing to help launch a new fistula ward in southern Malawi in April, it was important to visit with him and see how these centers were planned and how they are run. Over 2 weeks and 1500 km we went to 4 centers in Sokoto, Zaria, Kano and Katsina. All have served as training centers for 100’s of nurses and surgeons, all have high volumes of patients with obstetric trauma and fistulas. It was important to see how these centers have set up the operating rooms, the rehabilitation centers and importantly, training of surgeons and nurses.

 Sokoto’s only fistula center

Sokoto’s only fistula center

 Thoughtful post op ward design

Thoughtful post op ward design

What is the best way to train surgeons in a highly complex surgery like fistula surgery, where the best shot a success is on the 1st attempt? How do you prepare trainees in the anatomy and surgical techniques needed for a vaginal approach.  Much of the same questions are asked when trainees are learning other surgical operations. Focusing on providing the best care and best training possible is our goal. Looking forward to April when we launch the project. Stay tuned.

-Ambereen Sleemi, MD

 

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