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Quotes from the Field: Pignon, Haiti

March was our busiest month yet at IVUmed – including five workshops across the globe! Our next few blog posts will highlight those trips with quotes from IVUmed volunteer medical providers and photographs from the regions served.

 

Today’s Highlight: Pignon, Haiti

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“It was heartening to see the level of enthusiasm from trainees at all levels. I felt that the Haitians are eager to develop the skills and to use them in their own practices. This is a transformative time for healthcare in Haiti, and we are lucky to be part of it.” Catherine deVries, MD

 

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“The local urologists were so grateful for the experience. After working with them for even a week, I could see improvement in their techniques. Making a difference like this (though it will take time) will truly improve the country. They were a great group of people, and with a refreshing drive to enhance their skills. It was inspiring to be a part such a great project that makes a real and immediate difference.” Jonathan Warner, MD

 

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IVUmed Volunteer Featured in Local Paper

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IVUmed is currently conducting a female reconstructive urology workshop in Pignon, Haiti at the Hopital Bienfaisance de Pignon until March 27, followed by a male reconstructive urology workshop through April 5th. The Morrison County Record out of Minnesota interviewed Justin Lindhart, a CRNA volunteer on the female urology team, on his fifth medical service trip to Haiti.

 

In his interview, Lindhardt shared details regarding his work with IVUmed and insights into providing medical training and care in Haiti, giving a perspective on the challenges and rewards of working in resource-poor areas around the world.

 

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Lindhardt is quoted, saying,  “IVUmed takes care of the background checks, helps with booking flights, places to stay, insurance and proof of licensure, etc. They make it much easier for us…Our goal is to teach the Haitian physicians and nurses the necessary skills in current urology practice.”

“The hospital at Pignon, in comparison to other third world countries, is outstanding. They have Stryker Endo Suites which means they have high definition monitors and video equipment. They are able to hook up by satellite to any hospital around the world to assist in teaching and learning from others. By using this equipment they are able to watch other procedures at other sites,” Lindhardt said.

“The thing that impresses me the most is the resilience of the patients. An example is we did a procedure on a 3-year-old boy who had a hernia. The next day he got on a motorcycle with his dad for the three-hour trip home. Never complaining or fussing at all.”

“In other years we had support  in the form of supplies from St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Catholic Health Initiatives, and Little Falls Anesthesia which we were very thankful for. Now there is funding through IVUmed and others. They have everything we need ready for us when we get there,” he said.

Lindhardt concluded his interview by saying, “It is an absolutely wonderful learning experience. I would encourage anyone who can to try the experience.”

 

Our thanks to the Morrison County Record for covering this story, and to Justin Lindhardt and all of the many IVUmed volunteers who serve around the world to help realize IVUmed’s goal to make quality urological care available to all people.

Read the original interview on The Morrison County Record website here.

 

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Women’s Month Feature: Kristin Chrouser

 

IVUmed Board Member and Volunteer:  Kristin Chrouser, MD

 

Dr. Kristin Chrouser was IVUmed’s first fellow and has been an IVUmed board member since 2004.

 

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Dr. Kristin Chrouser has trained and assisted doctors in Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, India, and elsewhere. Of her reconstructive urology work for women of Namibia, Dr. Chrouser stated, “the smiles and often spontaneous dances of joy that erupt when a woman leaves the hospital cured and dry make it all worthwhile”.

She became involved with IVUmed when she traveled to India as a Traveling Resident Scholar. She spent two weeks at a urology camp in Bhopal, India organized by local Hindu charity Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS), which translates as “Service to the Living”. The organization, founded on the principle that God is seen in all people, has founded several schools, an eye hospital, and provides several short-term urology and general surgery “camps” each year. IVUmed partners with JSS to provide US urologists and resident volunteers for JSS camps.

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Dr. Chrouser and mentor Dr Sakti Das, a veteran IVUmed mentor and long-time India camp participant, scrubbed in together on dozens of cases.

About her experience in India, Dr Chrouser reflected:

“Surgically, I had an amazing experience. There were moments of frustration—language barriers, incorrect suture, no sterile forceps with teeth, scissors that refused to cut, inadequate anesthesia, but overall, given the environment, things ran very smoothly… I learned that a dorsal lumbotomy incision can be used to access the collecting system in an adult (with minimal need for post-operative analgesia), as long as you’re willing to work in a hole! I found that almost anything can be done under spinal anesthesia—as long as you don’t mind your patient watching you operate…Despite my inability to speak Hindi, I saw in the eyes of my patients a message of hope. It made me forget the small inconveniences of working in India and remember the real reason for service to others.”

 

 

Read more about Dr. Chrouser’s work on her website: www.freewebs.com/chrouser.

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Ghana Opens World’s First FGM Reconstructive Hospital

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According to the online news source GhanaWeb, the world’s first hospital dedicated specifically to reconstructive surgery for women who have suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is opening next week in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, Ghana.

 

The hospital is called “Kamkaso,” meaning “the house for women,” and was funded by donation from worldwide volunteers and philanthropists totaling $400,000. It will open in  on March 7, 2014 and will serve West Africa.

 

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At Kamkaso, experts will “perform clitoral surgeries and also train interested surgeons to restore FGM victims to sexual and self-dignity”.  Communications Director Nadine Gary stated, “We hope the hospital will serve as humanitarian pilot project for other parts of Africa and it’s likely to be replicated in other parts of Africa”.

 

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An IVUmed pediatric urology team will be training Ghanian doctors and nurses and providing patient care in Kumasi, Ghana from March 1-9. We look forward to working with and training Ghanian medical providers during this trip and in the future, supporting Ghana’s efforts to improve surgical care for the children, women, and men of their beautiful nation.

 

To read more about Kamkaso Hospital, go here.

 

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FGM, the prevalence

Governments and religious groups denounce it, treaties and bills have been signed against it, organizations and activists worldwide protest it; yet 140 million women young and old worldwide suffer from it. Female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to have desolate effects on the progress of Women’s Rights and Healthcare worldwide.

“The practice of female circumcision is rooted in gender inequality, cultural identity, and notions of purity, modesty, beauty, status and honor. The practice has been continuing in Africa because of cultural, tribal and religious factors that vary from country to country.

“Reasons for the continuation and perpetuation linked to FGM include many myths and false misperceptions…”

Continue to read this in-depth article published by the African Journal of Urology here.

Urological conditions and traumas, including FGM, have tremendous social and cultural implications. Challenges arise in promoting awareness of their detrimental effects.  A picture of a saddened face does not describe the emotional, psychological, social and physical effects of urological conditions and traumas. The beautiful African-print fabric draped over an injured woman’s body can hide the burdens of FGM, vesico-vaginal fistula, or the inability to bear children.

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IVUmed Traveling Resident Scholar Report

Nitya Abraham, MD 
New York University 
 Kampala, Uganda – June 15-24, 2012 
Mentor: Dr. Susan Kalota 
Sponsored by: SUFU 

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Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU), Dr. Nitya Abraham traveled to Kampala, Uganda with mentor Dr. Susan Kalota to collaborate with the Urology Department at Mulago Hospital. While participating in cases and delivering lectures on female urology, Dr. Abraham was able to develop an understanding of the discrepancies in healthcare due to limited resources. As she now begins a female urology fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, her experiences in Uganda have helped shaped her career goals.

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Abraham stated:

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“I saw the photographs, I read the books, I watched the documentaries. I knew the need for medical assistance was great in places like Africa. Now finally I would be going to Kampala, Uganda for a female urology workshop through IVUmed. I embarked on the trip with excited eagerness, cheerful enthusiasm, and grandiose hopes to transform lives. But my high expectations were replaced with unanticipated disappointment. I left with a heavy heart, feeling powerless. Our trip seemed to me a ‘drop’ of help when an ‘ocean’ was needed. My idealistic naïveté was humbled by the unexpected challenges I encountered.

“My disappointment and remorse at the end of my IVUmed trip to Kampala stemmed from my inability to provide world class care to the patients there. Why should there be such disparity in the treatment of my patient in Cleveland and my patient in Kampala? What always seemed to be an abstract aspiration has now become a concrete goal after the IVUmed trip: I want to bring world class care to places like Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. This endeavor will be expensive, require a lot of time and effort, and will be difficult to accomplish, but I do believe it is possible.

  “I am grateful to IVUmed and SUFU for providing me this invaluable experience. It has opened my eyes and has changed how I envision my future career. One trip is just not enough. I strive to include international health care as a long-term commitment and integral part of my career because ‘every life deserves world class care.’”

For more information about IVUmed’s resident scholar program, including the current application and deadlines, please visit our website

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Haiti, June 2012

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Our Purpose for Service

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In just a few short weeks, an IVUmed volunteer team will be heading to Kampala, Uganda to conduct a female urology workshop. IVUmed workshops give our volunteer urologists the opportunity to change the lives of their host colleagues and their patients. The local doctors will gain essential surgical skills through training and educational models developed by IVUmed and its volunteers, who maintain professional contact throughout the year to continue the learning process.  Our international partners can then use their new capacity to help patients in their community, even after the volunteers have left.

This is a monumental event for our partner physicians, as well as patients like Veronica Nandego, shown above. Veronica Nandego mentions, “I have urinated on myself for 50 years.” Not only has she suffered countless years of public humiliation but has lost three children, lost ability to bear children and no longer presents proper urinary function. Veronica’s story is very common across Africa due to lack of capable physicians to perform the proper surgeries to deter maternal issues from becoming this severe.

IVUmed was contacted by local medical professionals in Uganda in hopes of coordinating for the upcoming workshop. We have had the opportunity to arrange travel arrangements for Veronica to reach Mulago Hospital, where the workshop will be hosted, approximately 45 kilometers away from her one-room hut in Bugembe.

Working with IVUmed’s volunteer physicians will better equip the local doctors with the skills they need to help many African women like Veronica return to society and  live a normal life.

IVUmed’s motto, Teach One, Reach Many, guides our continuing successes in improving the quality of life for individuals worldwide through building the confidence and skill sets of local medical professionals.

To read more about Veronica’s story and personal life, continue to this article.


Map of Uganda from Jinja district, where Veronica lives, to Mulago Hospital in Uganda.

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Mother’s Day 2012

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