Celebrating Movember: A ‘Stache of Men’s Health Facts

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Movember is a global charity movement aimed at raising awareness of men’s health risks, focusing specifically on combating prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges in men. Using the moustache as a catalyst, Movember encourages men to invest in their own health by more openly talking about their health concerns and more proactively seeking necessary medical care.


As stated on, the poor current state of men’s health can often be attributed more to lifestyle than biology. Some causes include:

  • Lack of awareness and understanding about men’s health issues
  • Men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling
  • Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well
  • Men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health
  • Stigmas surrounding both physical and mental health


According to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research of Cancer, the number of prostate cancer cases is expected to nearly double to 1.7 million in less than 20 years.  As a result, requests for IVUmed’s urologic oncology trainings have increased significantly in recent years. IVUmed experts provide education for treatment of common urologic cancers such as bladder and prostate cancer.





The Movember movement hopes to inspire more men around the world to better attend to their physical and psychological needs, so we can see an improvement on current statistics, like these:

  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • Over 238,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and almost 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer in 2013.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35.
  • Men who sit more than six hours a day have an 18 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease and a 7.8 percent increased chance of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day.
  • Globally, 5.3 million deaths will be attributed to physical inactivity.
  • 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.





Celebrate Movember by encouraging male family members and friends to get a check-up today – a simple conversation could help save a life!


Go here for more information regarding the Movember movement.


Photographs by IVUmed.  Images used courtesy of and

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Pediatric Urology: A Mother’s Experience

This is a personal blog post from a Zambian mother of a little boy born with hypospadias. Brillian Izukanji Kaona generously shares the details of her experience with her local doctors and then of her son being treated by the visiting IVUmed team and the doctors and nurses who were training with them. She shares her perspective here to give hope and encouragement to other mothers of children with similar conditions. We are grateful to hear her perspective to better understand the thoughts and feelings of those we care for through our work Zambia and around the world:




My name is Brillian Izukanji Kaona; I’m aged 31 and live in PHI, Lusaka. I am a single mother of two boys aged ten and three.  I am an entrepreneur in the catering industry. My son was born with hypospadias; I was keen to share my experience especially the important lessons I learnt that I hope other parents with children born with the condition can learn from…


Three days after having been admitted in hospital with pre-eclampsia, I finally left for home with my newborn son, Ninza. The next day, my mother noticed his penis wasn’t straight while bathing him and his urethral opening wasn’t in the right position. During my postnatal visit at Nkwazi Clinic in Lusaka, I asked my doctor to check my son and tell me if he was OK. He advised me to take him to UTH (University Teaching Hospital) where it could be fixed.


The doctor diagnosed my son with hypospadias and said he couldn’t have an operation until he was two. He explained that he’d need two operations: one to cut and make it straight and the other, a year later, to close the hole and open another. Since he was only a month old, I was advised to return him to the hospital when he was older than a year.




A lot of things went through my mind: “What if he dies during operation?”; “What if operation isn’t successful?” ; “What if he grows up like this and becomes the object of women’s mockery?”…


Read more about Brillian and Ninza’s experience here on Brillian’s blog.


All Photos by Brillian Izukanji Kaona.

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Celebrating Urology Nurses & Associates Week

November 1-7 is Urology Nurses & Associates Week! To celebrate, we’re highlighting the leadership and service of IVUmed board member and longtime volunteer nurse, Barbara Montagnino:



Leading, Teaching, Healing: One Nurse’s Legacy


The daughter of a registered nurse, Barbara Montagnino, MS, RN, CNS was inspired treat patients and develop her medical skills from a very early age. Seeing her mother’s dedication to the field of nursing inspired Barbara to dedicate her life to healing. She served for 19 years at Texas Children’s Hospital with pediatric urologist Dr. Edmond Gonzales, where she coordinated the care of infants and children with urological conditions, including over 600 surgical cases a year.



Feeling a particular compassion for children suffering from bladder exstrophy, Barbara took the initiative and created the first bladder exstrophy support group in 1985. In 1986, Barbara organized PUNS (Pediatric Urology Nurse Specialists), a nursing conference dedicated to addressing the educational and professional needs of pediatric urology nurses. She shared her experience developing the bladder exstrophy support group at a PUNS meeting in 1986, inspiring many of her colleagues to create similar support groups around the country. In 1987, Barbara was the first nurse to present at the AAP Section meeting, and later helped mobilize her colleagues to lobby the AAP and the Section on Urology members to recognize nurses as key partners in the sub-specialty of pediatric urology. PUN was soon invited to apply for Affiliate membership in the Section on Urology. As a result of Barbara’s diligence and influence in organizing her fellow nurses, urology nurses became the first and only organized nursing group holding Affiliate privileges in the history of the AAP. More than 100 pediatric urology nurses have now attained Affiliate membership.




Barbara brought her passion for nursing and education to her volunteer service with IVUmed and her participation on the IVUmed Board. She has been a leader in the nursing community for over 25 years, and joined the IVUmed family in 2004 on an IVUmed Pediatric Teaching Team in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She has since served around the world with IVUmed, including trips to Nepal, Ghana, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Rwanda.




Barbara has said that she feels that her most significant career achievement is all the people she has connected with through her service as a nurse-coworkers, colleagues, and patients that have become important people in her life while doing a job she loves. We are honored to have Barbara Montagnino on the IVUmed board and privileged to count her among our volunteers!



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A Privilege: Final Entry from an IVUmed Nurse in Zambia

The final entry from IVUmed volunteer recovery nurse, Michael Felber, regarding his recent IVUmed humanitarian service in Zambia, shared from his travel journal:

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The last patients of the day seem to wake up more slowly. Often they have been under anesthesia longer, since shorter cases are usually scheduled earliest. I think by the end of the day they are also just more tired and hungry. By 6pm the local nurses and porters are ready to go home to their families, and I am sure are also a little concerned about missing the last bus home.Yesterday, Malasa, one of the nurses, was laughing and trying to wake up the patients. My patient wasn’t interested in waking up until she tugged on his earlobe and said “Boy, do you want to go see your mother?” He sat right up.  Douglas was still not interested in waking up, despite Malasa’s best effort. I told Malasa that I was going to wake her up at home on her day off, and she laughed. Finally, Douglas started to stir. We put a syringe of orange Fanta in his mouth and when the bubbles hit his tongue he startled. Then he began expertly sucking down the Fanta. By 6:30, everyone was on their way home.


So far, today has been pretty upbeat. For morning lecture, the residents played urology jeopardy. Everyone seems pleased with the number of children we have been able to treat.


Throughout the week, one operating room has remained open for emergency pediatric cases. They have ranged from routine appendectomies, removal of foreign bodies, to more complex cases. Yesterday a 5 day old baby was brought in with a malrotated bowel, like a twisted garden hose. By the time of her surgery her entire small intestines was necrotic from loss of circulation. The bowel had to be removed. She would need IV nutrition and ultimately a small bowel transplant, neither of which is available here.We watched her in recovery until she could be transferred to the ICU, where she will stay with her parents and receive comfort care. Today, a one week old premature baby was brought in for closure of gastroschisis, a condition where the stomach or bowel protrudes from the abdomen. In developing countries it is treated initially by suturing a sterile “silo” over the protruding bowel and gradually pushing it back into the abdomen. For this patient they used a sterile IV fluid bag and gradually compressing the end of it, like squeezing a tube of toothpaste. The baby weighed about 2.5 pounds, but was breathing well. It is amazing that he survived this far, but he still has huge obstacles ahead. Still, miracles don’t happen by themselves.


Complex patients and surgeries are scheduled in the beginning of the week so the team is available to deal with complications. Still, we are here to work, so a full day is planned. The last patients are as important as the first, so nobody can afford to let their guard down.


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By the end of today we will have treated over thirty children. It’s hard to measure results, though. Certainly numbers of patients treated and people trained are important, but you can’t measure up front how a surgery will affect an individual patient’s life, or what someone has learned from your teaching and your example, and what they will do with their knowledge.In medicine, you work with people and then you both move on. You rarely see the long term results of your work. There are far more built in obstacles than any individual or organization can change, but in the long run change is possible. Johnny Clegg, a South African musician, says in one of his songs that if you want a better future you have to “fetch it” yourself.

It’s also hard to measure the effect on ourselves, but I think it is overwhelmingly positive. At least most people I meet on these ventures want to come back. The imprints of experiences and people stay with you. Working with limited resources teaches you to be appreciative and creative. You learn not to waste your time or energy focusing on what you don’t have.And you learn again and again to regard your work as a privilege.

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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.