Urological mission March-April 2022

In November 2019, we carried out a urological mission with the objective of teaching endoscopic prostate surgery. The motivation for our mission was that we had seen many middle-aged men who wore either an indwelling urinary catheter, or a bladder catheter (also known as a suprapubic catheter). These implantation’s had been made because it was impossible to catheterize the urethra. Apart from the discomfort and the embarrassment, there is the certainty of permanent infections and the need for repeated antibiotic treatment.

Here, there are two options for operating on an enlarged prostate which obstructs the urethra and prevents normal urination. An invasive procedure, operating through the abdomen, when the prostate is very large. Or, a so-called non-invasive procedure, an internal approach, called transurethral resection surgery or TURP.

The advantage of the second option is a very fast post-operative recovery with a return home 3-4 days after the intervention. This is obviously the first choice in a country where the cost of the stay, not to mention that of the operation, is prohibitive and requires the assistance of the patient’s family for care, food and basic hygiene!

The first mission was a huge success…but, and I won’t go back on the problems that we all experienced in 2020 and 2021, the essential and very expensive equipment which we took in our suitcases, remained unused on the shelves…

The disappointment when our mission was canceled in November 2021 (Omicron) was enormous…about fifty patients were waiting for us…

In March-April 2022: we returned with two experienced urologists practicing in Basel, Professor Thomas Gasser and Dr Patrick Maurer…and the patients were waiting!

A total of 65 consultations and 40 operations were performed, including 25 TURPs for patients between 50 and 80 years old, often with indwelling urinary catheters. Four patients had prostate or bladder cancer.

Two very young patients aged 21 and 26 with strictures (obstructions) of the urethra due to an accident, needed supra-pubic probes. They were referred to Kampala because we did not have the necessary technical resources for these operations.

Africomed covered the interventions and related costs (transport, medication, accommodation and food): this was made all the more possible, thanks to the work of the two doctors and the Rotary Club of Liestal who made us a substantial donation!

Apart from the outstanding success of this mission, plus further interventions after we left and follow-up via WhatsApp, we were very happy to learn that one of the two local surgeons (Balaam) wants to pursue training in urology…which we will obviously support!

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank Prof. Gasser and Dr Maurer but also, the one who initiated everything and made this mission possible through his dedication in 2019, Dr Farshid Fateri!

And we plan to be back in March 2023!!

                                                                                               FS on 01.05.2022