Swedish neuro-surgeons on Gambia mission

Jun 13, 2023, 10:43 AM | Article By: Sheriff Janko

A team from Swedish African Neurosurgery Collaboration (SANC) is currently on a two-week visit to The Gambia during which they will conduct a number of free operations.

SANC is also in The Gambia to bring equipment to help the country’s neurosurgical team, who due to lack of resource and the much-needed support hasn’t been able to do as much as skilled to do.

Founded six years ago, SANC within a short span of time has undertaken neurosurgical operations in different West African countries and is also only active in their online advocacy for residents in neurosurgery especially during the height of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Thus, the team, which is specialised in Neurosurgery specifically brain and spine, has since started operations at the Ndemban Clinic, Bakau.

In his introductory remarks, Dr John Jabang, a neurosurgeon at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, thanked all those who played a part in making their Gambia mission possible, saying what is unique about SANC is that it is a “complete team”.

 “This is the first time we are having in The Gambia a mission that comes with a complete team.”

Having a bio-med engineer, he said, is a great move and that the engineer has already fixed two of their machines that were faulty and also trained some of their nurses. “And now we are doing some of the complex cases.”

Professor Enoch Uche, African Rep SANC, said having the organisation in The Gambia is a move in the right direction, further thanking the team members and resident doctors in The Gambia.

Prof. Uche acknowledged that SANC has undertaken neurosurgical care operations in other African nations, recalling that the organisation started in 2017 and was chartered in 2018.

 “Within a space of six years, it has made a remarkable endowment and investment in terms of providing comprehensive skills and infrastructural upgrade. And also training across all facets of neurosurgical care including training of residents, young fellows and of course the neurosurgical nursing, training which is so deep and unique.”

He noted that what is unique about SANC is that it carries the whole team by bringing every detail of the neurosurgical care into the planning. In the team, they have neurosurgical nurses, and neurosurgeons from different major hospitals in Sweden, Nigeria, Senegal, Finland and even The Gambia.

The Gambia mission, he added, is the biggest SANC has ever had and that they’ve already conducted complex cases that would have cost patients fortunes to do overseas.

Dr. Jimmy Sunblom, team leader SANC, expressed delight at participating in the Gambia mission and thanked the Ministry of Health for the collaboration.

“So far, we have been able to help people with different diseases in the spine, brain tumors, and so on and this couldn’t have been done without the great team.”

Dr Ammar Al Jafari, Chief Medical Director at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), hailed the Swedish organisation for its foresight and courage to embark on this humanitarian mission, saying the team has saved the patients, hospitals, and the country huge sums of money by performing some of the complex neurosurgeries in the country without flying abroad any patients.

CMD Jafari equally extended appreciation to hard-working team in The Gambia for their participation, elated that now neurosurgical care is available in the country.

Other speakers included Prof Magnus Tisell, president and founder of SANC.