Foundation Collaborates with Life Hospital to Train 28 Doctors on Laparoscopic Surgery


An American-based group, Geanco Foundation has collaborated with Life International Hospital Awka, Anambra State to train 28 medical doctors from different states of the Federation on Laparoscopic Surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique used in the abdominal and pelvic areas in which the doctor don’t open the patient’s stomach.

It uses the aid of a laparoscope — a thin, telescopic rod with a camera at the end — to see inside your body without opening it all the way up. Instead of the 6- to 12-inch cut necessary for open abdominal surgery, laparoscopic surgery uses two to four small incisions of half an inch or less. One is for the camera, and the others are for the surgical instruments.

Minimally invasive surgery may also be called “keyhole surgery,” referring to these small incisions.

Laparoscopic surgery is becoming the preferred method for a growing list of common operations, due to its cost-saving benefits and improved patient outcomes. The list includes: Ovarian cyst, fibroid, stone, and polyp removals, Small tumor removals, Tubal ligation and reversal, Ectopic pregnancy removal, Endometriosis surgery, Urethral and vaginal reconstruction surgery, Orchiopexy (testicle correction surgery), Rectopexy (rectal prolapse repair), Hernia repair surgery.

Others include Gastric bypass surgery, Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) for gallstones, Appendectomy (appendix removal) for appendicitis, Colectomy (bowel resection surgery), Abdominoperineal resection (rectum removal), Cystectomy (bladder removal), Prostatectomy (prostrate removal), Adrenalectomy (adrenal gland removal), Nephrectomy (kidney removal), Splenectomy (spleen removal), Radical nephroureterectomy (for transitional cell cancer), Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) for pancreatic cancer, Gastrectomy (stomach removal), hysterectomy (womb removal) and Liver resection.

This is why Geanco Foundation in partnership with Life International Hospital Awka brought a team of three specialist surgeons from the United States of America to Awka to train Nigerian doctors on the foundamentals of Laparoscopy surgery.

The team arrived on Saturday, began training on Sunday morning and ended on Thursday at the Endo Lab of Life International Hospital Awka.

The Mission Lead for the Geanco Laparoscopic Surgery to Life International Hospital Awka, Nigeria, Dr Kevin El-Hayek, an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, the MetroHealth System, Ohio, USA said the target was to instill a passion to provide More opportunities for Minimal Access surgery to the people in Nigeria.

“I want everyone from this training to go home to their communities to continue to build on these skills. We have given them the inspiration to continue their training to practice and to become leaders in minimum access surgery.

“Everyday we did didatic lectures in the morning, lectures on various types of laparoscopic surgeries, had our hands on simulation lab session where we taught them techniques outside the human body and had live operations everyday. We had on the average 6 to 8 operations per day where the trainees participated as assistants and we taught them different strategies of the surgery. We have a team of 4 surgeons. Support team Afam Onyema CEO Geanco and Obinna Okoye in charge of logistics. Other support team staff here already in Nigeria.

Also speaking, Dr Ronnie Sullines, a Pediatric Surgeon from University of California, Los Angeles, USA said she was overwhelmed and impressed by the hunger, enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge that this training has brought.

“I think it will be very easy for them with this free programme to coast through and update their knowledge in advanced medicine in the area of surgical operations.

“Technology in medicine is hard because new technology also comes with commensurate responsibility to use it appropriately and to introduce it with the support from the hospital which Life hospital has provided bearing in mind that surgery is a teamwork. The team are the people which include pre and post diagnosis, the OR staff, the surgeons, trainees, hospital administration and ethics of the mission. To have the support and talk about them, even those outside medicine is really important from top to bottom.

“Life International Hospital already has that and all we had to do was to train skilled surgeons to keep the surgery here. Three of us: Dr Kevin El-Hayek came on his first mission in 2019 and observed the challenges that he found in Life International Hospital. Then in 2021, he included Dr Biban Chan and myself. Then Charese Love who is our glue and works behind the scene. Dr Ronnie specialises in Peadiatric surgery, Dr El-Hayek specialises in Minimal Access Surgery and Bipan, Minimal Access General Surgery.

Giving the statistics of how many surgeries they had within the period of this training, Mr Agu Munachimso, ICT Officer, Life International Hospital Awka said 37 persons where operated on, and have all been discharged.

Leveraging on the successes created by Life International Hospital, Munachimso said creating environment where everyone can benefit and give back to the society, which Prof Ikechebelu has done at Life International Hospital, is how a standard Nigerian hospital should be.

According to him, all the 28 trainees were given certificate at the end of the five day training while all the trainers came from the US except Prof Ikechebelu who also lectured the trainees on Laparoscopic surgery.

The three specialist surgeons and two support members from the US came to Awka for the exercise, were given different titles to reflect their identities and herald the end of the 2022 medical mission to Nigeria. They are Dr Kevin El-Hayek, Dr Bipan Chan, Dr Ronnie Sullines, Afam Onyema and Charese Love.

Trainees took turns to express satisfaction in the training, which they said, has widened their scope in learning advanced form of surgery.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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