For the CommENTator – December 2017
Ethiopian Corner – December 2017
1. Ethiopian Otology Training Updates
Back in October 2016, Dr. Alene Meshesha approached Professor Miriam Redleaf, the Louis J. Mayer Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Illinois to develop an otology training program in Ethiopia. In a country of 120 million people there were just 28 otolaryngologists and only 2 who had hands-on experience with ear operations. Using the resources available in Addis Ababa, the capital city, and in neighboring African countries, an entire training program could be pieced together. Essential elements were hands-on operative experience, supervised by trained otologists, introduction to audiometry, introduction to hearing aids and cochlear implantation, temporal bone drilling laboratories, endoscopic ear surgery workshop, quality improvement and research, and frequent face-to-face assessments.
One year into the program, the 3 fellows, Dr. Asnake Bitew (Bahir Dar University), Dr. Bilen Korra (St. Paul’s Hospital and Millennium Medical College), and Dr. Nebiat Teferi (Addis Ababa University) are all progressing nicely. They are all competent in performing and teaching tympanoplasty and ossciuloplasty. They are competent to perform stapedectomy and mastoidectomy with an otology st nearby for questions. And they are 100% sure to be able to teach these last 2 skills by the end of 2018 – right on schedule. In January 2019 they will return to their respective Universities to focus on performing and teaching ear surgery there.
Their quality improvement and research efforts have paid off also. They have expanded a surgical camp south of the city in Butajera and are slated to operate at 10 campaigns this year. They have created a successful surgical camp based at Bahir Dar University and had 3 supervised campaigns in 2017 and are slated for the same in 2018. And they are adding a 3rd campaign site at Gondar University in 2018. In addition, they have had 1 original research article accepted to Otology/Neurotology, 1 to ENT Journal, 2 book chapters are with the editor, 2 more original research articles are under review at Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 1 original article will be submitted early December, 3 research projects are underway in Butajera and 2 major projects in Mekelle University in the north of the country.
But 2017 has seen major expansions of the Ethiopian Otology Training program: The University of Illinois, Section of Otology/Neurotology has confirmed a curriculum which is easily obtainable in Ethiopia, and has created its own Certificate of Completion for Ethiopian Otology. We have also affiliated with 3 other institutions: Myungsung Christian Medical Center in Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa University, and Mekelle University in the north of the country. We have added 2 more otology fellows – Dr. Betelhem Berhanu and Dr. Medhanie Gebresellasie. These will train for 2 years, based primarily at Mekelle University. In addition, these 2 new fellows will establish 4 more surgical campaign weeks up in their institution. Finally, Dr. Betelhem, who is a female, will become the first Mansueto Ethiopian Otology Fellow – a 3 month rotation with the University of Illinois in order to learn clinical diagnosis and diagnostic protocols. This visiting fellowship is funded by the Mansueto family and Mr. John Hegber, widower of our own UIC staff and teacher Dr. Joyce Schild. Mr. Hegber requested that the funds be used for fellowship level training and, if possible, to encourage female otolaryngologists.
So, with only one year’s intervention, 5 individuals are being trained to teach at 4 institutions and surgical campaign sites are expanded from 1 to 4 sites.
Are you interested in teaching ear surgery a week a year? Please contact Professor Redleaf.
Dr. Medhanie Gebresellasie
Dr. Betelhem Berhanu