Taking an initiative that could prove to be a breakthrough in clinical surgery in the Northeast, Leeds Global Health Research Group, UK on Surgical Technologies (GHRG-ST) are collaborating with Kolkata Medical College to benefit the patients for laparoscopic surgery in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland.
To set the initiative in motion, seven surgeons from the Northeastern states took their first training at Kolkata Medical College from March 11 to 14, 2019, according to reports.
The training was a mix of teaching, simulation, live demonstration which helped the rural students acquire knowledge and proficiency in the technique.
Laparoscopic -or “keyhole surgery is done by making small cuts rather than large incisions used in open surgery. Patients of Laparoscopic surgery suffer less pain and make a quicker recovery with fewer complications.
The Leeds team consists of a group of surgeons, researchers and engineers who use their expertise to develop new solutions to areas of clinical need and evaluating the benefits and costs in clinical practice.
Laparoscopic surgery and its benefit are largely known in the higher-income countries but the lower income countries are yet to derive the benefits of it.
The barriers to the implementation of laparoscopic surgery in rural settings are mainly lack of resources, in particular, lack of anaesthetists. The solution for this is a modification of the laparoscopic technique Gas Insufflation-Less Laparoscopic Surgery (GILLS).
The GILLS technique would allow laparoscopic surgery to be performed under simple spinal anaesthesia at a lower cost but with similar benefits for the patients.
The programme is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research, the research arm of the UK National Health Service (NHS).
Bruce Bucknell, British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata, met the Leeds GHRG-ST team in Kolkata and expressed his positivity and support for the programme. “We are fully supportive of the new initiative which addresses a real clinical need,” said Bucknell pointing out that the initiative will help raise availability and standard of surgical care in the rural areas of the Northeast of India.
Professor Sukumar Maiti, Head of Department, Surgery, Kolkata Medical College talks about the benefits surgeons from the Northeastern region have acquired from the programme.
“Guest surgeons and gynecologists from different medical colleges across Kolkata had a useful session on the scope and future of the gasless and safe principle of Laparoscopic surgery. It was a programme with grand success for the hands-on training of seven surgeons working in the rural areas of northeast of India,” said Maiti.
The next phase of the programme will be to support the rural surgeons to undertake Laparoscopic surgery in their own hospitals. This endeavour is to see these rural surgeons become future GILLS trainers and help spread the scope of laparoscopic surgery in the rural communities of the Northeast.
The Leeds GHRG-ST team in India is also working on engineering devices to facilitate GILLS surgery and providing support for rural diagnostic camps.