Mobile endoscopy: a treatment and training model for childhood hydrocephalus

Document Type



General Surgery (East Africa)


Background: Hydrocephalus, largely a disease of poverty in many developing regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, becomes even more challenging to treat because of lack of trained neurosurgical personnel, inadequately equipped public health care facilities, meager resource allocation, high rates of neonatal infection, difficulty of access to tertiary care hospitals able to treat hydrocephalus, and high complication rates in patients who are able to access and receive shunting procedures. Furthermore, conventional methods of training of neurosurgeons and nursing staff to become proficient in neuroendoscopic procedures involve a lengthy period of training, often at specialized centers in Western or local Western-style institutions.

Methods: The novel approach promoted by volunteer neurosurgical teams from Neurosurgery Education Development Foundation is described, and its potential role in successfully providing neuroendoscopic ventriculostomy at hospitals in regional sites away from main referral tertiary hospitals is outlined. The impact on the training of local neurosurgical specialists and residents in training as well as nursing staff is highlighted.

Results: With the use of a single portable neuroendoscopy system and a versatile free-hand, single-operator neuroendoscope, this outreach, mobile, and readily portable model has been successfully used to perform more than 250 procedures in 21 different hospital sites around seven different countries in two continents. The local courses have imparted hands-on training to 62 neurosurgeons and trainee residents and a further 110 operating room nurses at these 21 institutions.

Conclusions: Neuroendoscopy is not only a priority surgical tool for East Africa. It offers a medical philosophy as an application that serves as an art and a science dedicated to the development of a complex surgical specialty: neurosurgery


World Neurosurgery

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.