New technology at the National Centre of Minimal Access Surgery in Havana is a great step forward in facilitating training in this area for Cuban and Latin American medical professionals.
The installation of ten new laparoscopy simulator training units can accommodate thirty trainees per course meaning a total of 720 professionals can be trained per year, said Dr C. Rosalba Roque González, Senior Researcher and Associate Professor of General Surgery and Deputy Director of this key centre, the only one of its kind in the country.
The new training equipment and instruments from internationally renowned German medical equipment supplier Karl Storz will allow for up to date training in minimally invasive surgery.
Dr Roque explained that the new medical simulators or pelvitrainers use artificial silicone organs as well animal organs allowing students to hone the specific psychomotor skills required for this type of surgery, which differ from conventional surgical skills.
She also said the centre now has simulators for different specialities, meaning training sessions can be divided allowing courses in two different specialties- -Neurosurgery and General Surgery-to be run at the same time, each with its own particular equipment.
She highlighted the importance for Cuba of training both medics and nursing professionals to apply these surgical techniques, and of maintaining and improving training standards and promoting research into minimally invasive surgery.
According to Dr Roque, over the past decade training has been consolidated through the implementation of structured teaching programmes that begin with lectures, live surgical observations and simulator practice, moving onto training in operating theatres and endoscopy rooms later.
Once they have successfully completed this course, trainee professionals can continue their development under the tutelage of professionals with extensive experience in this area at hospitals accredited in minimal access surgery, such as the General Calixto García Íñiguez University Hospital, CIMEQ (the National Surgical Medicine Research Centre) and the Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital in Havana.
The Training Laboratory allows professionals to learn new techniques and to utilize new technologies. Its extensive teaching and research programmes are supported by a solid pyramid of staff: thirty one teaching staff including nine senior professors and seven associates, and twenty six research professionals including four senior researchers and seven associates.
The centre has a library and a classroom, plus a so-called intelligent theatre is soon to be opened, seating up to sixty people and equipped with the latest technology and simultaneous translation facilities. This will enable live transmissions and teleconferences with other national and international centres. In Dr Roque´s opinion the centre has achieved commendable results over the past decade, having imparted 1 105 courses, workshops and other professional training programmes in that period. It also developed a post graduate Masters course in Minimal Access Surgery that has so far trained sixteen graduates.
A total of 3 659 medics and nursing professionals have been trained by the centre. While the majority were Cuban, over five hundred were from other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean and some from further afield. The centre has so far issued certificates in basic procedures to 472 trainees, and 690 certificates in advanced techniques.