The project’s main aim is to raise the standard of Hand Surgery and the repertoire of cases so that the local surgeons can continue with the work. The inclusion of other surgeons from the UK on the team not only increases the work and teaching achieved on each visit, but in the future these team members will be able to start independent, similar, projects.
While each visit achieves some 50 operations, the real value is the teaching of the local staff. It is they who operate when the team returns home and their skills are increased with each visit – this is the lasting merit of this surgical programme.
When it is felt that there is sufficient expertise, and adequate equipment, the project moves on – we are currently working simultaneously in our 4th and 5th hospitals in the programme. Each visit is now divided between two hospitals: Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital, near Janatpur (managed by the Nepal Leprosy Trust, based in London, UK) and the Kathmandu Kirtipur Hospital at both of which we operate and teach. The Kathmandu Unit is headed by Professor Shankar Rai who leads a Plastic Surgery Department with a formal training programme. Donald Sammut (DS) is now part of the team there as visiting Senior Lecturer. Our teaching and clinical work is covering the Upper limb/Hand surgery elements of this programme. On each visit, a lecture programme is undertaken as well as clinical sessions where patients are seen, assessed and undergo surgery.
Two individuals from Lalgadh hospital (Surgeon Krishna Lama and Therapist Krishna Subedi) have benefitted from visiting Fellowships in the UK during 2012. During 2015 we have been able to fund three further Fellowships – Surgeons Bishal Karki and Pramila Shakia and Hand Therapist Mohan Dangol, have all spent six week periods in Bath, Bristol and Oxford, shadowing DS and other specialists on a daily basis, and attending teaching meetings here. They came from the Kathmandu Unit of Prof Shankar Rai and their visit forms part of the teaching programme conducted by DS.