Drs. Laura Chng, Camilla Guan, Chad Johnson, and David Stockton were a part of the September 2015 USTOP trip. USTOP or Uganada Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program is a partnership between the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Makerere University. It began in 2008 to improve the education of surgical trainees, nurses and paramedical personnel in the care of individuals with traumatic injury, from entry to full rehabilitation. Read the trip report from the visit.
I got involved with USTOP on the recommendation of a friend who had been previously on a trip, and I was very thankful I took his advice. Despite doing my research prior to the trip, I was taken aback by the surgical conditions that exist in low-income countries like Uganda. I gained a new appreciation for important orthopaedic complications like malunion, nonunion, and infection; conditions that we residents don’t get as much exposure to thanks to the improved care that patients recieve in developed countries. Most importantly, I saw first hand the difference that education can have in improving health care in these environments. Over many years, the USTOP program has partnered with Makarere University to develop its Orthopaedic Surgery residency program. I worked with a number of recent graduates from the program who are now getting started in their own practices, and I saw some of the new challenges that they face in trying to address the high demand for fracture care with scarce resources available. They address each new problem armed with basic orthopaedic principles and a determination, a lesson that I will carry with me throughout my orthopaedic career.
I think its important for residents to take advantage of opportunities to expand our perspective of our chosen disciplines, and I would highly recommend getting involved with established programs like the Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program.
Dr. David Stockton