In First – Israeli Doctor Teaches Treatment For Orthopedic Birth Defects In Africa
By Ilanit Chernick • 20 November, 2018
Every year, thousands of children in Africa are born with with orthopedic birth defects. Although a common problem across the continent, there are almost no available solutions.
However, this week a doctor from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa gave local doctors from several African countries a unique course in how to treat and operate on different orthopedic defects.
The four-day course, attended by some 50 doctors, was held for the first time ever in Africa at The Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was led by Prof. Mark Eidelman, director of the Pediatric Orthopedics Unit at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital.
Lectures included different treatment types, practical workshops and as well as the hands on experience of participating in corrective surgeries.
The Ethiopian hospital’s pediatric orthopedic services are directed by two doctors from England. They had relocated to Ethiopia several years ago and dedicated their time to improving treatment conditions for the local population. The two doctors created the course in order to give treatment tools to local medical teams dealing with one of the most common problems in the country.
According to Eidelman, the main problem in training African doctors is the difficulty of traveling to the United States to receive training there. “The institutions in Baltimore are considered the best in the field in terms of training and teaching, and the city hosts the leading conferences and courses. Unfortunately, most of these doctors don’t manage to secure entry visas for the US, and as such, are denied access to this information. This is the reason why we decided to bring the training to them. At the end of a successful course, we decided to continue with this initiative, and in the near future, I’m supposed to return to Ethiopia in order to train additional doctors.”
Eidelman also explained that against the backdrop of genetic diseases and problems, and especially “since there is a great lack of knowledge, infrastructure,” as well as treatment capabilities with regard to pediatric orthopedic deformities, “there are many people in Ethiopia with problems that are taken care of in other countries at much earlier stages.
“In Israel, like in many other Western countries, they know how to diagnose problems on time and treat them in a timely manner,” he said. “This helps these patients to enjoy a higher quality of life and prevent their conditions from deteriorating. Now, for dozens of local doctors, there are tools and knowledge to help their patients.”
Two doctors from the United States also joined Eidelman in helping facilitate the course including Eidelman’s teacher, Prof. John Herzenberg, a senior doctor in the field from Baltimore, and Prof. Christof Radler, who is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and expert.