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01 March 2016

Bristol paediatric neurosurgical team travel to Tanzania to support local clinical staff


Three clinical colleagues from the paediatric neurosurgical department at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children are travelling to a Tanzanian hospital, offering training and support to clinical staff in the management of infant hydrocephalus.

Vita Stagno, clinical fellow in paediatric neurosurgery, Natasha Clark, consultant neuro-anaesthetist and Jenny Sacree, advanced nurse practitioner will make a visit to Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre in Tanzania, to increase staff expertise in the management of paediatric patients with hydrocephalus and other neurosurgical problems.

Miss Stagno said: "Infant hydrocephalus is the most common neurosurgical abnormality in sub-Saharan Africa. Paediatric neurosurgical patients are a vulnerable category. Unfortunately, nurses and doctors in developing countries frequently do not receive specific neurosurgical education and post-operative morbidity and mortality rates are extremely high.

"This visit is an opportunity for our team in Bristol to create a "bridge" with other units in need, who do not have the same resources and access to training as we do. We plan to work over the course of the week and support the staff in Arusha in delivering surgical, anaesthetic and post-operative care. We hope our multidisciplinary approach and expertise to deliver good practice will instil confidence into the clinical staff when they approach neurosurgical patients."

This will be the first time that the neurosurgical team in Bristol embarks in an overseas project in developing countries. The journey is partially supported by the charity CURE Hydrocephalus, for which Miss Stagno cooperates since 2010.The Bristol team will fly out to Tanzania on Friday 26 February. On their return, the team will review the success of their trip and will start to plan future educational program in this or other centres in developing countries.