Leaderboard Ad

Miniseminar Showcases Academy’s Role in Global Health

Catherine Ferguson, MD

Catherine Ferguson, MD

Otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons from around the world gathered Tuesday to learn from each other during the miniseminar “Global Health 2013: Academy Around the World.”

Regional advisors introduced ambassadors, which included Cheerasook Chongkolwatana, MD, Thailand; Mohan Kameswaram, MD, India; Catherine Ferguson, MD, New Zealand; Amarilis Melendez, Panama; and Doreen Nakku, MD, Uganda. Bernard Fraysse, MD, regional advisor for French-speaking African countries, spoke on behalf of Abdel-Hamid Benghalem, MD, Morocco, who was unable to attend.

“This is really an amazing panel,” said Gregory W. Randolph, MD, moderator. “In the next hour we’ll travel with the Academy around the world.”

Dr. Ferguson spoke about various aspects of New Zealand health system and otolaryngology in the country.

“It’s a different system from what many of you will be familiar with,” she said. “We have a largely public health system funded by the government, open for everybody. There is a private sector as well. Most people who work in New Zealand have a combination of public and private appointments.”

Medical training, she said, is largely done in the public sector, although there is a growing amount of training done in the private sector.

“Training in otolaryngology is done through a national training program,” she said. “Otolaryngology is one of nine surgical specialties that comes under the umbrella of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.”

Dr. Ferguson said access to services in New Zealand is strong because of the nation’s public health system. However, it still faces challenges.

“With most countries in the world we have people who train in subspecialty areas who want to come back to the major centers, of which there are only four,” she said. “Our big challenge is attracting generalists to come to the small regions. In fact, we’ve had a large influx of English-trained otolaryngologists.”

Dr. Nakku, with the Mbarara University of Science and Technology, spoke about ENT/ORL training in Uganda. With a national population of 37 million people, Uganda has 30 ENT surgeons, with fewer than 20 practicing in the capitol city of Kampala.

There are two residency-training programs: one at Makerere University, started in the early 1970s, and Mbarara University, which will see its first graduate in 2014.

Dr. Nakku said the challenges Mbarara University faces include clinic space, a lack of subspecialties in the department, faculty support, a lack of equipment, and the imbalance between curriculum vs. resources.

It has many strengths, too, she said. These include its strong administrative support, a sufficient workload that provides hands-on experience, its diligent staff, access to AAO-HNS resources, and strong collaborations with local and international organizations.

“With the Academy’s support, we are going places,” she said. “We are young, but we are still strong and with you we can continue to grow.”

The Academy currently has more than 1,130 international members in 85 countries. These members are also part of 54 international corresponding societies. In 2012-2013, joint meetings with the Academy took place in Argentina, Mexico, Panama, Turkey, the Caribbean, Colombia, Egypt, and Zimbabwe.

The international speakers bureau has 135 speakers, with languages spoken in 12 languages.

Nearly 40 percent of annual meeting attendees are international individuals. This equates to roughly 2,000 international attendees for the AAO-HNSF 2013 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM in Vancouver.

“If you bump into someone in the hallway, make sure you know what language to say ‘Excuse me’ in,” Dr. Randolph said. “You have a very good statistical chance that it’s somebody who’s not an American.”