Dr Venko Filipce, one of the head neurosurgeons at the University Clinic for Neurosurgery in Skopje, Macedonia, recently helped Project HOPE assess the need for surgical services in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Dr Filipce is an internationally educated neurosurgeon who pursued graduate and postgraduate studies, fellowships and specializations at the University Hospital in Zurich, Ohio State University, the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Macedonia, the Medical Faculty at the University in Belgrade, and the Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. He has participated in numerous certified scientific and practical trainings and workshops for continuation of his medical education. He is author and co-author of scientific papers and has won awards for his published work.
Muhimbili National Hospital and the Muhimbili Orthopedic Institute jointly cover all surgical services for most of the Tanzanian population –more than 47 million people! Most of the surgical specialties are only offered in these two institutions.
Dr. Filipce spent one intensive week visiting all of the surgical departments at Muhimbili, discussing with his fellow surgeons both the scientific aspects of their work and the day-to-day operational challenges they encountered. Venko was able to observe actual surgeries, exchanging experiences with surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and all other support staff.
The two institutes cope with an enormous number of challenges on a daily basis. In some of the departments, the lack of basic equipment prevents specialists from performing even some basic procedures. In other departments, where equipment is in place, the lack of specialized personnel presents a major challenge. In most areas, however, it is a combination of both.
Project HOPE and the management of Muhimbili agreed to jointly look at ways to improve surgical services through continuation of the donation program and also recruitment through the volunteer program of highly specialized professionals to work side-by-side with Tanzanian doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel at Muhimbili, where they can pass on expertise where needed.
Project HOPE is currently implementing the StrategicMedical Re-Supply Program in Tanzania which is helping improve patient care and treatment by providing high-quality donated medicines and medical supplies. The program is directly impacting is also helping the health facilities and the Ministry of Health save some of their limited budgets and divert resources to other priority areas.
Building on the basis already created with the program and based on the assessment and recommendations from Dr Filipche’s visit, Project HOPE will be recruiting specialists through the volunteer program but also developing a longer-term training program for some of the identified areas, also supported by highly-trained medical volunteers.
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