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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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Common, Costly, & Critical: January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

“Birth defects are common, costly, and critical.” is the National Birth Defects Prevention Month theme for January 2014.

BirthDefectMonth

 

Every 4 ½ minutes in the United States, a baby is born with a major birth defect. Birth defects are a leading cause of death among U.S. infants, causing roughly 20% of mortality in the first year of life. Babies born with birth defects are also more likely to have more illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects. National Birth Defects Prevention Month raises awareness about the frequency of birth defects occurring in the United States and the efforts to prevent them. While not all birth defects are preventable, women can do many things to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. The Center for Disease Control suggests:

  • Be fit. Eat a healthy diet and work towards a healthy weight before pregnancy.
  • Be healthy. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Be sure to consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy.  Work to get health conditions, like diabetes, in control before becoming pregnant.
  • Be wise. Visit a health care professional regularly. Consult with your healthcare provider about any medications, including prescription and over-the counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements, before taking them.

 

Awareness efforts offer hope for reducing the number of birth defects in the future. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) suggests these additional prevention strategies:

  • Manage chronic maternal illnesses such as seizure disorders or phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Avoid toxic substances at work or at home
  • Ensure protection against domestic violence
  • Know their family history and seek reproductive genetic counseling, if appropriate

 

Leslie Beres, MSHyg, President of National Birth Defects Prevention Network, said, It’s also important to remember that many birth defects happen very early during pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant, so planning a pregnancy is key and can also help make a difference.  Managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant increase a woman’s chances of having a healthy baby.

While approximately 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States has a birth defect, the international birth defect statistics are even more disheartening. According to a March of Dimes report, 6 percent of total births worldwide – almost 8 million children – are born with birth defects, with over 4 million infant deaths occurring annually due to birth defects and preterm birth.

When IVUmed started in 1992, our first programs were dedicated to pediatric urology.  Reproductive and urinary tract malformations are among the most common birth defects affecting children worldwide.

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IVUmed addresses the lack of available care through specialized intensive trainings and distance learning opportunities.  Due to continued demand, we have conducted these workshops in over 20 countries since the program first began.

Vietnam_1

IVUmed has various pediatric urology training workshops scheduled for 2014, including visits to India, Kenya, Ghana, Honduras, Vietnam, Senegal, the West Bank, Mongolia, and Zambia.

 

Resources for this article:

March of Dimes

Center for Disease Control

National Birth Defects Prevention Network

 

 

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