Thanks to the outstanding support of the Western Section of the American Urological Association, Dr. Garen Abedi had an eye-opening experience at Hospital Central de Maputo in Mozambique.
Dr. Abedi shares his experience:
“Thanks to the generous support of the Western Section of the AUA and IVUmed, I was able to participate in a pediatric urology mission in Mozambique along with Dr. Stephany and Dr. Ching. This was certainly an eye-opening experience. On May 18th, we arrived in Maputo Airport in Mozambique after a long journey from the United States. We were warmly welcomed by the urology staff from Central Hospital of Maputo at the airport. On the subsequent day, we held a full day of clinic where we saw patients from 1 year to 16 years of age with a variety of urological pathology. These included complex hypospadias, posterior urethral valves, DSD, ambiguous genitalia with undescended testicles, and cloacal anomalies. Together with the host urology team and the anesthesia staff, the schedule of surgical cases for the week was finalized. One of the most challenging parts of this day was the fact that all records were kept on paper and images were viewed on actual films.
“Perhaps the most rewarding experience of the trip was the difference in the operating experience in Maputo. While in the United States, we have an overabundance of surgical tools at our disposal; this was certainly not the case here. During the week, we performed several complex procedures including hypospadias repairs, vesicostomy reversals, clitoroplasties, and posterior urethral valve ablations. During these operations, while we were involved in teaching the local urologists and residents how to perform complex procedures, we were also taught by them how to be resourceful.
“During the week, I was also fortunate enough to be able to teach one of the local pediatric surgeons who routinely performs their pediatric urological operations how to perform cystoscopy and posterior urethral valve ablations. Even though not a complex case, this was one of the highlights on my trip as it allowed me to play a big part in this mission. Having the local pediatric surgeon demonstrate the ability to use our pediatric cystoscope was extremely rewarding. Our goal is to provide a pediatric cystoscope in the near future for continued use at their hospital as currently it is not available there.
“While this was my first international volunteering experience in urology, it will certainly not be my last. Having been on this mission allowed me to see the effect one can have internationally in third world countries by volunteering and teaching local staff. Seeing the growth of the local surgeons and the grateful patients and families before and after surgery was very rewarding. After having been involved in this experience, I can definitely say that international volunteering in urology will be part of my career in the near future.”