Guyana’s premier public health institution, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), has been constantly improving its capacity to care for its patients. The latest development in this regard came to the fore this past weekend when it was announced that four specialised surgeons attached to the institution have been trained to perform thyroidectomy procedure.

Their training was part of a one-day workshop hosted by the Caribbean College of Surgeons (CCOS), a day before the start of their 17th Annual scientific conference which ran from June 20 to 22 in Guyana.

A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland and is used to treat diseases of the thyroid gland, including thyroid cancer. The thyroid gland regulates metabolism by secreting hormones. When diseases affect the thyroid, its size or activity may become abnormal.

Four surgeries were performed this past weekend. A team of visiting surgeons did the first operation while the local team conducted the other three procedures under the supervision of the visiting team of surgeons.

This is just one of many new developments resulting from CCOS conferences which were recently held. At these meetings, or educational symposiums as members of the college refer to them, Caribbean surgeons share information regarding new procedures as well as new developments to methods that were practised for many years.

The Caribbean College of Surgeons held its 17th annual scientific conference in Georgetown, at the Guyana Marriott Hotel. Out of its membership of 250+ surgeons, more than 150 attended the conference hosted in Guyana, making this the largest convention held.

Surgery Consultant Dr Shailendra Rajkumar explained that this “workshop was the first of its kind where they actually removed thyroid glands from persons who had diseased thyroids with a suture-less technique. It is the first time it has ever been done here [in Guyana] and we managed to operate on four patients without any complications, to the benefit of the entire department of surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital.”

Dr Cheetanand Mahadeo, Consultant and General Thoracic Surgeon at GPHC – one of the four doctors who were formally trained conduct the thyroidectomy procedure – noted that this new technique would be of significant benefit to the patients. “The reason why we never did it [thyroidectomy] was because we could never afford the device prior. So, now we are reducing operating time by almost one-third. A surgery that would normally last one and a half hours could be done in just under an hour with the same outcome, so the patients stay less time asleep, and they go home earlier.”

Vice President of the CCOS, Professor Shamir Cawich, explained that the goal of the meeting is to contribute to the improvement of healthcare packages across the Caribbean. “This educational symposium covers a wide range of topics in surgery, and it ranges from cutting edge techniques that are now being discovered like single incision laparoscopy all the way to transplantation, so it covers a very wide range of surgical specialities.”

Several regionally and internationally recognised guest speakers made presentations, sharing their experiences while building capacity among surgeons in the Caribbean.


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