The Department of Neurosurgery has partnered with Physician Training Partnership (PTP) (www.ptpafrica.org) to provide an international education opportunity to neurosurgery residents. PTP has started a neurosurgical training program in Tanzania, where there are only three neurosurgeons for a population of 38 million people. The World Health Organization recommends one neurosurgeon for every 100,000 for adequate neurosurgical care. Physician Training Partnership is different from the typical humanitarian mission in that it is dedicated to training physicians to perform neurosurgical procedures who can in turn teach their own doctors, eventually leading to independent, self-propagating medical care in a developing country.
This rotation gives the resident an opportunity to test
the skills that they have acquired in a less-than-
perfect setting. The same procedure that you perform
in the US will be twice as challenging in this environment. Try using a twist drill and gigli saw to
turn a craniotomy, hand-bagging a patient because respirators are not readily available or communicating culturally or effectively with patients so that they understand the procedure that is being recommended.
You will be challenged to improvise procedures and
adapt what equipment or supply is available to the current need.
The rotation will consist of teaching Tanzanian surgeons basic neurosurgical procedures which include inserting shunts, closing myelomeningocele or encephalocele, or performing neurosurgery in trauma or life-threatening situations. This setting includes the opportunity to teach AMOs and students how to read CT scans, take care of patients in the post-op arena, educate hospital personnel on evaluating the emergency neurosurgery patient and educate all personnel on general neurosurgical care.
Residents at PGY4 or above are eligible to travel to Tanzania for a one month rotation to work at one of the training sites indicated by PTP. Airfare, in-country ground transportation, food/housing, necessary visas & permits and the cost of vaccinations (not covered by insurance) will be provided.