“Ever since I encountered their booth at AUA as a medical student, I had been hoping to take part in one of IVUmed’s trips. Now, as a 4th year urology resident, the wait was over and I was about to land in Dakar, Senegal – a city and country on a continent to which I had never been! We were greeted warmly at the brand new airport by Dr. Mohamed Jalloh and, after piling our suitcases atop a van, we zipped towards our hotel through the arid red desert-like land punctuated by gnarly baobab trees and flashes of bright color on the traditional dresses of Senegalese women walking on the road.

“After a brief rest at the hotel, we visited the urology clinic at Hopital General de Grand Yoff (HOGGY). Dr. Jalloh led us through a maze of airy corridors to the clinic where about 20 patients with complex urethral injury were waiting to be evaluated as operative candidates for the upcoming week. Patients came in one by one, were laid on a simple examination bed and their imaging held up to the light. I encountered about as many PFUDs, often the result of motor vehicle accidents, as I had in my entire residency.

“Because our trip coincided with URODAK, a biannual Pan-African conference held in Senegal, several urologists including those from IVUmed, were demonstrating surgeries at HOGGY to resident and faculty observers from across Africa. In addition to complex urethroplasties, procedures being performed included VVF repairs, perineal prostatectomies, ureteroscopies and PCNLs. There was more going on than I had time to witness, though I was able to assist on multiple complex urethroplasties and a perineal prostatectomy, as well as observe VVF repairs and ultrasound-guided PCNLs.

“I came away from my IVUmed experience with feelings of admiration for the people I worked with in Senegal who helped me broaden my understanding of what it means to work internationally in urology. The urologists at HOGGY operate with limited resources by our standards back home. On a daily basis they work hard to improve the care they give their patients and the education they provide their trainees, in part by engaging with experts from abroad who can at times come with unrealistic expectations.

“Visiting urologists sacrifice their time regularly, even if it means travelling across the world during vacation on an annual basis. It is more apparent to me now that international work is almost never built in to a urologist’s job and is especially challenging for young urologists to engage in due to the demands of their training and early career development. Thus, I’m grateful for the rare opportunity afforded to me by IVUmed and the many pathways it has opened for me going forward. Perhaps most importantly, I’m excited to have made valuable connections with so many people who are passionate about furthering the level of urology being practiced around the world. I look forward to many more international endeavors in urology!

“Thank you to all who made my experience in Senegal possible including our hosts in the Department of Urology at HOGGY, IVUmed, the Northeastern section of the AUA, and the University of Rochester Department of Urology.”