When neurosurgery crosses the poverty frontier

Moody Qureshi is the chief of neurosurgery in Kenya’s hospital. This year he has been the special guest of the SENEC to perform the neurosurgery course in UMH. A short time ago, Qureshi developed a volunteer programme with the aim of operating on children with hydrocephalus around Africa. This illness is produced when the fluids in the brain get blocked and the head becomes very big. But surgery is not easy in Africa, the techniques, the materials and the conditions are not the best ones to carry on out such important surgery. So it is necessary that surgeon volunteers go there, paying for their own flight tickets and accommodation, to help the local surgeon to operate on. Qureshi says: “Courses like these, in UMH, are valuable for learning, valuable for teaching and valuable for making new contacts with people who can work with us in the future”. He explains that some young people do not have an idea on how to help around the world, “so when they see somebody who is doing something and also has an area to develop the activity, they ask to help”.

Qureshi met José Piquer, the SENEC secretary, in 2006 when the former one went to Kenya to do the first Hands On Training in Kenya International hospital. Since then, they have both operated in Haris Ababa (Ethiopia), in Jartum (Sudan), in Kampala (Uganda), in Dar Al Salaam (Tanzania), in Harare (Zimbabwe), in Kigali (Rwanda) and in Lima (Peru). They have been there just with mobile endoscopic equipment. Over 455 children with hydrocephalus have been operated on with this endoscopic technique by them.

If anyone wants to become a volunteer, the only request is to contact Ned Fundacion, and Qureshi organise where to go and who to operate on. “We select the facilities and the cases according to the qualification of the team”, says the surgeon.

Moody Qureshi: “We cannot solve the problem of the whole region but we try to do in our best, show them as an example, so hopefully someone starts a similar programme in another area”

Lorena Santos Maestre

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