Groundbreaking journey

Academic shares advances in foetal surgery

THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION: Attending a lecture on foetal surgery at the East London Health Resource Auditorium, are, from left, Frere Hospital and Cecilia Makhiwane Hhospitals’ paediatric head Professor Milind Chitnis, Prof essor Mia Elsean, Professor Samad Shaik and Eyabantwana Trust chairman Professor David Morrell Picture: SIVENATHI GOSA

The East London Health Resource Auditorium was packed with medical practitioners on Tuesday who came to listen to Prof Samad Shaik share  information about foetal surgery in a lecture hosted by the Eyabantwana Trust.

Shaik completed his undergraduate training at the University of Natal Medical School.

“I completed a mini MBA and also undertook training at Tufts and Harvard universities, as well as at MIT in Boston, US,” said Shaik.

During this time, he was fortunate enough to be exposed to early foetal surgical interventions being explored in the US.

Shaik then returned to SA and completed his sub-specialisation in paediatric surgery. After that, he went on to do training in foetal and neonatal medicine in Nice, France, as well as further training in Belgium.

“My practice steadily progressed from offering mainly antenatal counselling to the full spectrum of therapeutic foetal interventions and advanced oncological interventions. I returned to full-time academic practice in 2014 and was appointed head of the division of paediatric surgery as well as associate professor at Stellenbosch University in  February 2014,” he said.

Shaik has subsequently returned to KwaZulu-Natal and maintains his links with the departments of paediatric surgery, foetal medicine and general surgery at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Frere and Cecilia Makhiwane hospitals’ paediatric department head Milind Chitnis said public hospitals do not currently have the necessary staff to handle the sort of advanced practices used by Shaik.

“We have the infrastructure, but we need to find people and send them for training. We will need experienced people in order for us to be able to be on the same level as other provinces.”

Paediatric surgeon Yashoda Mainckchund said the lecture was of great importance, especially to surgeons who are not familiar with such procedures.



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