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Setting The Tone And Tenor In Medical Excellence

CEMAST is the world's first center offering courses in 11 specialities for minimal access surgery. In laparoscopic segment alone, the centre trained over 1,000 rural doctors

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As India seeks to become the healthcare capital of the world over the next decade, the Center of Excellence for Minimal Access Surgery Training (CEMAST) has emerged as the world's first center offering training in 11 specialities for minimal access surgery.

Mostly, other centres across the world offer training in two or three specialities only. The 11 specialities, being offered at CEMAST include general surgery, gynaecology, urology, paediatric surgery, flexible endoscopy, bariatric surgery, ESS, bronchoscopy, ENT, VAAFT and knee arthroscopy.

Come 2017, CEMAST plans to add another nine specialities to the existing eleven and those include endospine surgery, neurosurgery, thoracoscopy, advanced ENT, difficult airway, shoulder arthroscopy, VATS, colorectal surgery and hepatobiliary surgery.

Recently, CEMAST opened their sprawling new center in central Mumbai. The organisation was started in a modest way in Mahalaxmi area of Mumbai in 2012 and in 4 years has trained well over 4,000 surgeons from all over India, many from rural areas, a 1,000 nurses working in operation rooms throughout the country, 250 surgeons in flexible upper and lower GI endoscopy and 150 pulmonologists, anaesthetists, intensivists and thoracic surgeons in bronchoscopy.

Starting with imparting training in three surgical specialities, this center today covers 11 surgical specialties. It is the only training center in the world to have this wide diversity, as also such involvement in training the entire MAS team - surgeon, nurse, biotechnician, sterilization team, according to Dr Tehementon Udwadia, chairman of CEMAST.

In laparoscopic segment alone, more than a thousand doctors from various rural parts of the country have been trained in carrying out laparoscopic surgeries at this training centre, since this technique has the benefits of early recovery and lower cost of treatment.

Said Dr Udwadia, the laparoscopic technique of surgery is a surgical revolution since this only requires small cuts for carrying out procedure.

"Certain kinds of instruments are used for carrying out the surgery by looking at the monitor and hence the surgeons have to be trained in carrying out this work," he said.

"We provide training in 11 different specialities and a major focus is on surgeons from rural India," Udwadia added.

"The reason is that such a technique is needed for a developing country like India since the patients have to get back to work as quickly as possible," he explained.

These surgeons are given hands on training in a simulated environment that can mimic the actual situation. Since surgical techniques are always developing, the surgeons who have trained at this center are informed of any ongoing medical conferences taking place in their vicinity, Udwadia said. These surgeons are also encouraged to give a feedback on the course so this information can be used to further improve the content, he said.

"There is also a facility for a live transmission of the techniques, so a surgeon sitting in any part of the country can watch and learn them," Udwadia said.

This aspect can benefit even a doctor who is watching the surgical procedure sitting in his primary health centre in a village or even a nursing home in a small town, he said.

The biggest benefit of this technique for patients is that it is low cost and less pain and medication, the doctor said. A total of 4,000 surgeons have been trained at this centre so far and this has helped in better treatment and faster recovery of the patients, he pointed out.

Commenting on the technique of laparoscopic surgery, Dr Sanjay Wathore, Medical Officer, said that this technique is already helping a large number of patients since it has many advantages.

"Not just surgeons, even medical graduates are now being trained in this method so they can use them in treatment of patients," he said.

Wathore has worked in several rural areas of Maharashtra like Jalna, Yavatmal, Parbhani and Aurangabad and increasingly doctors at these places are learning this technique.

Dr Shailesh Chandra Sahay, Senior Consultant Urologist, Max Superspeciality Hospital, Patparganj, Delhi attended the CEMAST session on lap radical prostatectomy recently and was happy to share that he performed his first lap radical prostatectomy soon after at Max Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi.

"It was all possible only due to Dr Udwadia’s dedicated training and demonstration at CEMAST. I am also thankful to CEMAST for organising this training programme and would recommend my friends and colleagues to get the training at this centre," Sahay said.

Dr T. Vittal Mohan, Asst. Prof. of Pediatric Surgery, S.V. Medical College, Tirupathi said, "The biggest turning point of my career is to know that CEMAST is one of the very few centers where structured laparoscopic skills are being taught. I was doing some basic paediatric surgeries before attending the Basic Paediatric Laparoscopy Course, which made me learn and acquire the basic skills in a proper safe, easy and effective scientific manner and laid the proper foundation stones of my career."

Unlike most courses, where participants leave and are forgotten, CEMAST maintains contact with every participant via an umbilical cord of attachment.

"The alumni concept, outreach programme, distance learning programme, and the planned mentorship programme, all ensure that CEMAST participants remain bonded, not only as CEMAST alumni, but as CEMAST family," concluded Udwadia.

CEMAST has been set up through an altruistic educational grant from Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG, Tuttlingen, Germany, through the involvement of Dr Mrs Sybill Storz in humanitarian and educational aid to India.


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