Less-invasive surgery being done in Jamaica
A revolutionary "minimally invasive" surgery was performed for the first time in Jamaica on two patients at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Friday, March 30.
The team, consisting of Dr Bart Muhs and Dr Hilary Brown of Yale University, assisted by Dr Mark Newnham of the University Hospital of the West Indies, performed two endovascular aortic aneurysm repairs with devices donated by Medtronic Foundation.
These procedures were done percutaneously, which means that no incisions were used; only needle puncture access was utilised. This contrasts with the traditional open surgery where a large abdominal incision is utilised and postoperative hospital stay and recovery are longer. Although the cost of the devices for implantation can be substantial, the benefits derived include a much shorter hospital stay, no need for intensive care unit monitoring, and thus a much faster return to productive activity. The effort was also supported by Merck, Sharp and Dohme.
On Monday, May 16, 2011, the same team had performed the first ever endovascular aortic aneurysm repair in Jamaica. This was not done percutaneously, however. The first patient remains well at this time and is happy about her progress.
Having performed the first three successful cases in the island, it is likely that this procedure will be performed with increasing frequency in Jamaica. With the kind of public-private partnership that led to the successful introduction of this procedure, it should now become available to a wider cross section of patients.
Follow-up to 1994 ICPD meeting held
Caribbean advocates for population and development problems, including sexual, reproductive health and rights and youth empowerment, are being encouraged to unite around common issues of concern for greater impact at the national, regional and international levels.
Beryl Chevannes, former executive director of Jamaica's National Family Planning Board, says this strategy was very effective for the Caribbean delegates at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt.
"Caribbean delegates spoke with one voice on issues relevant to the region, such as adolescent pregnancies, reduced educational opportunities resulting from early childbearing, sexually transmitted infections, maternal health, child rights and balancing population with development."
The veteran reproductive health specialist said recognising that governments are the final arbiters of the change they desire, civil-society organisations (CSOs) should seek to work with key government partners to build consensus on the issues. "CSOs need to engage the relevant government ministers in order to win their commitment to advance these issues," she said.
Forty-five civil-society organisations from 17 countries across the Caribbean, representing a diverse grouping, including faith-based, indigenous, adolescent mothers, persons with disabilities, women's and men's health, prevention of sexual violence, youth, among others, met in Ocho Rios, April 12-13 to share ideas and develop a strategic action plan to influence, monitor and follow up the ICPD Action Plan beyond 2014.
Source: United Nations Population Fund