Thanks to the generous support of the South Central Section of the American Urological Association, Dr. Natalia Hernandez had a phenomenal experience in Cote d’Ivoire, where she volunteered at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Cocody in Abidjan and attended the Pan African Urological Surgeons Association biannual meeting with Dr. Kurt McCammon.

Dr. Hernandez shares her experience:

“I would first like to thank the South Central Section of the AUA for allowing me to participate in this life-changing experience.

“In March 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to Cote d’Ivoire for the Pan African Urological Surgeons Association (PAUSA) biannual meeting. We arrived late on Sunday night and were welcomed by two local urology residents who drove us to the rural town of Grand Bassam.

“The next day we were very lucky to have the opportunity to explore the area and walk around all day. We walked around the town, where they had local woodcraft shops on the main road. We were able to spend the afternoon at the local beach relaxing and getting ready for our surgical day.

“On Tuesday we went to the CHU (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire) de Cocody in Abidjan. PAUSA organized a live surgery workshop, where urologists from all around Africa gathered in an auditorium, where 3 simultaneous ORs were running. We were able to spend the morning with local urology residents and share different experiences as we met the patients selected for our surgical day. We did two complex redo hypospadias repairs with buccal grafts in two 20-year-old men. In between cases we were able to see the live cases from the other rooms, one run by a local urologist and a second run by a French urologist, who also was volunteering.

“The following day, the PAUSA meeting started. This was an amazing experience, where we were the first witnesses of the research presented by residents and urologists from all over Africa, including results from IVUmed collaboration on urethral stricture practice management in Africa. We also had the chance to attend the SIU lecture by Dr. Kurt McCammon about decision making in urethral reconstruction.

“Every night we were kindly invited by the African urologists to dinner, where we shared experiences. I feel grateful and lucky to have had the chance to meet the leaders of urology in this continent and be one of the first witnesses of their efforts to unite and collaborate with each other in order to improve quality of care for urology patients. Personally, my biggest highlight was meeting the founder of PAUSA, Dr. Alex Danso. He is a true leader with an inspiring story of training in Europe and returning to Africa to serve the African population and train the future of African urology.

“This was definitely an eye-opening opportunity that I would highly recommend to everyone in the urology field- residents, fellows and urologists.”