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IVUmed’s Work Helps Combat Global Poverty

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IVUmed experts provide hands-on training to build local capacity and increase access to quality healthcare.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 billion people lack access to basic surgical care. Access to specialized care like urology is even more restricted with critical shortages of trained personnel. The United Nations cites the unavailability of healthcare as one of the root causes of extreme poverty. Debilitating health conditions not only drain family resources, but also affect productivity and prevent many throughout the world from earning a living. A breadwinner unable to work due to illness, or family members obliged to stop working or attending school to care for a relative can lead to considerable loss of income and long-term poverty.

IVUmed works to make quality healthcare more accessible in resource-poor areas of the world. We build self-reliant surgical teaching programs capable of meeting the needs of their communities. By providing expert surgical training to physicians and nurses throughout the world, children and adults in need of care will not have to live for years with debilitating conditions that threaten their economic and overall well-being.

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IVUmed – Helping Children Around the World

IVUmed Rwanda

IVUmed in Rwanda

IVUmed’s Pediatric Urology Capacity Building Program makes quality surgical care available to children around the world – especially in low-resource areas. We accomplish this by building a global network of train-the-trainer centers of excellence. There are no pediatric urologists in sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti, and many places in India, leaving millions of children without access to care for debilitating urological conditions.

Pediatric urology diseases, malformations and injuries are among the most common conditions affecting children worldwide, and are up to 10 times more common than cleft lip and palate. In the US, when a baby boy is born with a condition such as hypospadias (a congenital condition in which the opening of the urethra is situated on the underside of the penis instead of at its tip), surgery can be performed before the child is even out of diapers, and there are few to no lasting effects. In countries where this type of surgery is not available however, shame, poor self-esteem and secrecy surround this condition, which often results in adult infertility if left unrepaired.

IVUmed’s teams of volunteer physicians, nurses, and anesthesiologists provide hands-on surgical workshops, lectures, online educational materials, telehealth consultation, and impact measures to equip doctors and nurses with the skills they need to care for children in their communities. In turn, these newly trained medical professionals build future capacity for care by passing along IVUmed training to their colleagues, fulfilling IVUmed’s motto, “Teach One, Reach Many”.

IVUmed’s focus on education stands out among global health organizations, as does our focus on urology. Another unique element to IVUmed is our collaborative model. While IVUmed is guided by a dedicated board and staff, leadership of our programs stems from the dynamic doctors and administrators at our many partner hospitals around the world. Their priorities lead our efforts, which are put into action by our volunteer doctors and nurses. Together, and with the generous donations of many benefactors, we are building a worldwide system of pediatric training programs, ensuring that children everywhere will have access to the care they need.

With the help of supporters like the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Societe Internationale d’Urologie (SIU), the American Urological Association (AUA), the Pan-African Urological Surgeons Association (PAUSA), and regional surgical associations, IVUmed is building a strong global network. Teaching hospitals throughout the world, skilled medical volunteers, ministries of health, local community leaders, international medical societies, regional colleges of surgeons, and charitable foundations combine strengths to give children everywhere the opportunity to lead the healthy, productive lives they deserve.

You can be involved too, whether a physician, engineer, photographer, philanthropist, medical student, etc.  We invite you to explore our volunteer opportunities here.  http://www.ivumed.org/how-you-can-help/

IVUmed patient in Vietnam

IVUmed in Vietnam

 

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March is International Women’s Month

 

From our founder and president, Catherine DeVries, MD, to active board members, and specialists and nurses on the ground, IVUmed has been shaped by the dedicated involvement and expertise of many amazing, committed women. We’re highlighting their work as part of our celebration of International Women’s Month:

 

IVUmed Founder & President, Catherine deVries, MD6184-CatherineDevries_web

A graduate of Harvard University, Catherine deVries holds a Masters in Pathology from Duke University and an M.D. from Stanford University. She trained in Urology at Stanford University and completed her fellowship in Pediatric Urology at University of California, San Diego. Her awards include the American Red Cross International Hero Award in 2011, the American Urological Association’s 2009 Distinguished Contribution Award, The American Urological Association’s Honorary Member 2007, along with many others.

 

Catherine incorporated IVUmed in 1995, to address the enormous need for patient care and professional training in urology in resource-poor areas of the world. Initially established to help meet the staggering need for pediatric urology in developing countries, IVUmed has grown to include virtually all areas of urology and incorporates education for nurses, anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists and other related areas of medical and surgical care. With a proven model that has helped to successfully build surgical training programs in countries as diverse as Honduras, Vietnam, Senegal and Mongolia, IVUmed tailors its efforts to the needs of each of its many partner hospitals and communities.

 

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In addition to founding IVUmed, Dr. deVries has served as an educator and leader in international surgical care and advocacy. In all of these domains, she said that her aim has been “to help make quality surgical care accessible and affordable to people worldwide and to support the surgeons who provide that care”.

 

Follow IVUmed online to stay up-to-date on IVUmed workshops and event worldwide:

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Global Surgery: A new public health culture

A shift in disease
Globally, two billion people do not have access to basic surgical care. Though historically Public Health focused on infectious diseases, it is increasingly clear that more people worldwide suffer from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and trauma. Surgical care is not only needed for large traumatic injuries, but also birth defects, maternal health, cancer, and diseases associated with aging that often require surgical intervention. Annually, NCDs are responsible for 63% of global deaths; 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries.

Essential, affordable care
As the “neglected stepchild of public health”, mentioned by Drs. Jim Kim and Paul Farmer, surgical care must be recognized as a cost-effective, basic component of healthcare for all individuals. To put into perspective the critical need, estimates suggest that at least 3 million women in low-income countries have unrepaired vesicovaginal fistulas (VVFs), and approximately 30,000 to 130,000 new cases develop each year in Africa alone. Increased access to affordable surgical care enables patients suffering from VVF and other conditions requiring surgery to return to healthy, productive lives.

In fact, investments in surgical care in many cases have proven to be less costly than traditional public health interventions. One measure used in the analysis of cost related to disability is the DALY, or “disability-adjusted life year”. It projects the total years of life lost due to the burden of disease. One DALY equates to one year of productive, healthy life lost. In Zambia, the estimated cost per DALY averted for caesarian section for obstructed labor is $319. This cost is well within the budget of other public health measures, such as antiretroviral treatment of HIV.

Focused initiative
Successes like the 1970s campaign to eradicate smallpox demonstrate the power of a concerted public health effort. Surgical programs for prevention and treatment of disease could confer similar public health benefits. The demonstrated success of capacity-building programs like IVUmed’s reveals that educational efforts to improve affordable surgical care are possible and effective. Public health professionals, bioengineers and physicians are moving toward a united front on the burden of surgical disease.

In 1968, the U.S. Surgeon General foresaw that, “It might be possible, with interventions such as antimicrobials and vaccines, to close the book on infectious disease and shift public health resources to chronic diseases.” Yet over 40 years later, 28% of the world still has no access to surgical care. The new statistics are changing the focus of public health discourse. From academic centers to social media blogs, professionals are sharing ideas for affordability and availability of surgical care.

Global surgery conferences, such as the 2013 Extreme Affordability Conference hosted by the University of Utah’s Center for Global Surgery, are being held across the country.

Also, social media has recently given global surgery a voice on the internet. Twitter search “#globalsurgery” provides an endless list of conversations, article links, and event streams. The conversation has started and projects are being initiated. However, the public health community needs to ask, is the effort focused?

Strategy in action
As a surgical education organization, IVUmed recognizes the need for efficient, concerted efforts to provide access to surgical care. IVUmed’s services have been requested by many surgical and urological organizations to help increase access to care in resource-limited parts of the world. This global strategy increases the reach of our united efforts.

Establishing greater access to professional training among surgeons worldwide creates a foundation for an improved healthcare system. As IVUmed and its partners develop self-sustaining surgical education programs, greater access to quality care is made available where it is needed most.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 11% of the global burden of disease can be treated with surgery. Building the capacity necessary to meet this demand involves developing partnerships, accessibility, and affordability. Following in the footsteps of successful public

health efforts of the last century, IVUmed is joining the world’s leading organizations in creating surgical education models to lay a similar foundation.

 

Join a Global Effort
If you are interested in furthering IVUmed’s mission to make quality urological education and care more widely available, please visit our website at www.ivumed.org or contact our office at 801.524.0201.

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Mary Frances James, MD
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Nairobi, Kenya – March 3 – 13, 2012
Mentor: Dr. Kurt McCammon
Sponsored by: The Mid Atlantic Section of the AUA
Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Mid Atlantic Section of the AUA, Dr. Mary Frances James traveled to Nairobi, Kenya with mentor Dr. Kurt McCammon.  Dr. James had the opportunity to experience grassroots surgery and its value in a developing nation.

 Reporting on her experience, Dr. James stated: 

“At the time of our arrival there was a nursing strike going on throughout the city including Nazareth Hospital.  This situation was very stressful for the sisters and added strain to the daily hospital management as the patient census continued to increase each day. …Despite this ongoing struggle within the hospital we were graciously welcomed by the FIHM sisters on our arrival.”

“The operating room staff was very hospitable and allowed us to use one of the two main operating rooms.”

“The first couple of days consisted of several second stage urethroplasties…. This was a wonderful experience as it was the first time I had seen this operation.”

“Overall my IVU trip was a wonderful experience. Traveling to Africa and working within the constraints of limited resources was an eye-opening and humbling experience.  In a field such as urology that has transformed with development of robotics and minimally invasive care I think it is important to remember how different healthcare is throughout the world.  I am extremely grateful for having had this opportunity and look forward to a lifelong commitment to urologic mission work.”

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Jonathon Wu, MD
Stanford University
Hue, Vietnam – February 17 – March 4, 2012
Mentor: Dr. Walter Beh, MD
Sponsored by: The Western Section of the AUA

Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Western Section of the AUA, Dr. Jonathon Wu traveled to Hue, Vietnam with mentor Dr. Walter Beh. Dr. Wu and his mentor collaborated with Dr. Hung and his colleagues of the urology department, focusing on 19 patients with difficult cases. Dr. Wu was able to perform his first open pyelolithotomy under the supervision of a Vietnamese colleague, Dr. Tuan.
Reporting on his experience, Dr. Wu stated:

“In our two weeks of working mainly with Dr. Hung, I was very impressed by his surgical technique. Open surgery involved tediously dissecting out important structures and controlling all bleeding quickly with cautery or ligatures. He moved very quickly in the OR but was very purposeful with his movements. No suture was wasted as instrument tying was performed whenever possible. Bigger cases would often involve 2 attending surgeons intertwined in a well-rehearsed ballet.“What was even more impressive was the efficiency and resourcefulness of the hospital.
We mostly worked with Dr. Hung who has been on the urology staff for 6 years. He is quite motivated and very enthusiastic.
“This disparity was made much more obvious to us when we observed a kidney transplant on our last day.… During the course of our 2 weeks, we were able to see the kinds of needs our Vietnamese colleagues had.”
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IVUmed is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide.