The Division of Otolaryngology at St. Paul’s Hospital has been doing outreach in Uganda under the guidance of Dr. Brian Westerberg for well over a decade.
In 2014, Dr. Andrew Thamboo, a sinus surgeon and a Principal Investigator at the HLI, visited Uganda as a resident in to get exposure to their model of surgical education. At the time, the ENT program at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) was beginning to undergo a dramatic shift as they had just graduated their first ENT specialist. They also just received equipment to do functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This type of advanced equipment is very rare in Africa. At that point, no one was trained to do sinus surgery with endoscopes in Mbarara, so while the residents were keen to learn, there was no one there to educate. One resident from Mbarara took on a mini-fellowship in Winnipeg with Dr. Gigi Osler, the current Canadian Medical Association president, and returned back to Uganda 2 years ago. Last year, both she and Dr. Osler put on the first sinus surgery course in Uganda.
This year, Dr. Thamboo joined as one of the teachers (together with Dr. Osler). They gave multiple lectures and spent considerable amount of time doing hands on dissection with participants from Uganda, Somolia, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Many of the participants had been to courses in Nigeria and South Africa and stated this course was likely the best they have seen. Through this course, ENT doctors will likely begin performing endoscopic sinus surgery in Africa. Dr. Thamboo and the team foresee another visit in January 2020 and are expecting increases in course attendants as well the same participants from this year’s course coming back for further training.