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10 women to have operations done as UWI hosts international conference

BY ANIKA RICHARDS Associate editor — news richardsai@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 19, 2017    

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A team of visiting gynaecologic experts, along with consultants from the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU) of the University of the West Indies, Mona, is set to this week perform surgeries on 10 Jamaican women with “complicated gynaecological problems” at no cost to them.

The experts, who are from Europe, Asia, India, Australia, the USA, and the Caribbean, will be visiting the island to participate in the HWFMU’s inaugural International Congress and Postgraduate Course in Gynaecologic Endoscopy from March 21-25.

“These are patients who were finding it difficult to afford some of the surgeries that they need, and basically, we have selected difficult cases because we have a faculty of over 40 gynaecological surgeons that are coming...” director of the HWFMU Dr Vernon DaCosta told the Jamaica Observer on Friday. “So we will be utilising their expertise, working along with our local doctors, to do the surgeries for these patients.

He explained that some of the patients who were selected have been suffering from problems such as endometriosis and uterine prolapse, while others have had repeated surgeries and their condition has reoccurred.


The minimally invasive gynaecological surgery conference, which HWFMU is hosting in collaboration with the International Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy and the Caribbean Association of Gynaecologic Endoscopic Surgeons, will have two segments — the first day, March 21, in the HWFMU at the UWI Mona Campus, and the remaining days, March 22-25, at Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay, St James.

The aim of the conference is to educate and inform medical professionals about minimally invasive surgical procedures, and its role in enhancing patient care and safety and ultimately their quality of life.

Dr DaCosta told Your Health Your Wealth that eight of the surgeries will be performed on March 21 and will be observed by medical professionals via telemedicine in the HWFMU lecture room, while the other two surgeries are scheduled for the day before the official start of the conference.

The second segment of conference is anticipated to have 150 medical professionals engaged in the emerging medical learning strategy of case-based learning. The HWFMU director said virtual reality training sessions will also be conducted to improve and certify surgical skills in the areas of diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy, among others.

“It (the conference) is really geared for doctors and nurses we have a special session for the nurses too,” Dr DaCosta said, adding that interested people can register for conference online and at the conference venue.

But what motivated the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit to host the inaugural laparoscopic conference?

“Motivation is that we want to start a postgraduate fellowship course in minimally invasive gynae surgery, so this will help us launch that. So now we will have a lot of contacts with experts who will actually come down and help us train our local doctors.

“The other thing is that it will also start the process in getting our doctors accredited and, also, we wanted to showcase Jamaica as a conference destination,” Dr DaCosta continued. “These guys put on conferences about four, five times for the year and there are about 20 different minimally invasive gynae surgery societies out there, and we have gone to their’s and they tend to have them in the same places. So we wanted them to come here to see that we have the facilities here in Jamaica for them to come and have their international conference.”

The director of the HWFMU said he is hoping that next year the unit will have another group who wants to come to Jamaica, as it would also help to boost tourism for the island.

He also said the unit is looking to start the postgraduate programme next year. The fertility management unit is engaged in the provision of clinical, training, research, and outreach services to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as the wider community across the Caribbean. It is said to be the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, and its services were expanded to include in vitro fertilisation in keeping with international developments in health and population in the 1990s to the more inclusive concept of sexual and reproductive health.

According to Dr DaCosta, at the end of the conference local doctors will “definitely improve on their skill sets and the way in which they manage patients”.

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