Frequently Asked Questions
+ Do I have to be an “academic” surgeon working with residents to qualify as a volunteer?
Absolutely not! All board certified surgeons who are interested in teaching are invited to join the Alliance.
+ I have a sub-specialty surgical practice. Can I still make a meaningful contribution?
Yes! Although the MUHAS/MNH Surgical Services deal with the BROAD spectrum of general surgery, you have the option to limit your participation to cases within your area of expertise. However, since you are there to teach basic surgical principles and techniques, you will probably be able to make a significant contribution to cases outside the realm of your usual practice. You also have the option of concentrating on teaching pre- and post-operative care.
+ How can I prepare for unusual cases or cases for which I have limited experience?
All of us encounter cases from time to time for which we have limited experience. At MUHAS/MNH, you will likely be the most experienced person for most of the “difficult” cases you encounter! YouTube is a great source of information for infrequently performed operations. I frequently prepare for challenging cases by reviewing YouTube videos for several days prior to the case. This will allow you to plan your approach, develop plans A, B and C and review regional anatomy.
+ Should I bring extra equipment with me?
That’s up to you. Some of us arrive with sutures, ties and even instruments. I usually do not because my approach is to teach my colleagues basic techniques using their existing equipment. I usually bring a blood pressure cuff for use as a tourniquet for extremity surgery (they have none in the OR) as well as a stethoscope.
+ Should I rent a car?
We don’t recommend it. Traffic is horrendous and taxis are readily available and inexpensive.
+ What about personal safety?
The Kalenga House is a walled compound with security guards. The House is kept locked. You should also keep your room locked. We have not experienced crime or theft at the Kalenga House. The hospital is a short walk from the Kalenga House. The street can be very busy in the morning and there is no real side walk. However, if you walk on the shoulder of the road and take appropriate care, you should not have any difficulties. There have been reported cases of theft of hand bags by young men riding on motor cycles who sometimes grab handbags carried on the arm adjacent to the road. You can prevent this by carrying your bag on the arm furthest from the road. Athough we haven’t experienced any problems, it is Alliance Policy that unescorted women should not walk outside the Kalenga House compound after dark. Male surgeons have not experienced any problems walking to and from the hospital after dark. This is a personal decision.