A collaboration for keyhole surgery in NE India
The aim of this collaboration is to benefit patients for laparoscopic surgery in rural North-east India
To benefit patients for laparoscopic surgery in four states of rural North-east India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland), Leeds Global Health Research Group, UK on Surgical Technologies (GHRG-ST) are collaborating with Kolkata Medical College.
As a part of this initiative, seven surgeons from the North-Eastern states undertook their first training – a mix of teaching, simulation, and live demonstration at Kolkata Medical College from March 11-14, 2019.
The Leeds team comprised of surgeons, researchers, and engineers who have expertise in developing new solutions to areas of clinical need and evaluating the benefits and costs in clinical practice. Laparoscopic – or 'keyhole' surgery is done through small cuts, rather than large incisions used in open surgery. In this process, patients suffer less pain and make a quicker recovery with fewer complications. The benefits of laparoscopic surgery are well known in high-income countries but have not been evaluated in lower income countries, where the benefit may be even more apparent.
The barriers to implementing laparoscopic surgery in rural settings are a lack of resources, in particular, a lack of anaesthetists. One of the solutions is modification of the laparoscopic technique, called Gas Insufflation-Less Laparoscopic Surgery (GILLS). The GILLS technique can be used under simple spinal anaesthesia to perform laparoscopic operations at a lower cost, but with similar benefits for patients. The programme is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research, the research arm of the UK National Health Service (NHS), with the aim of improving surgical care.
Bruce Bucknell, British Deputy High Commissioner, Kolkata, met the Leeds GHRG-ST team in Kolkata. He said: "We are fully supportive of this exciting new initiative, which addresses a real clinical need and will help to raise the availability and standard of surgical care in the rural areas of northeast of India".
Professor Sukumar Maiti, Head of Department, Surgery, Kolkata Medical College said: "Guest surgeons and gynaecologists from different medical colleges in Kolkata had a useful session on the scope and future of 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." The next phase of the programme will consist of further workshops and a preceptorship programme providing one-to-one support. The aim is for the rural surgeons to become the GILLS trainers of the future, helping to spread laparoscopic surgery across rural areas, reducing costs , and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the programme.