Kenya carries first video conference surgery

By Jevans Nyabiage

Kenya on Thursday witnessed a major medical-technology breakthrough as the first surgery enabled by remote video technology was performed.

Surgeons from Aga Khan University Hospital with guidance from specialists in India conducted a surgery through a Video Conference Surgery (VCS) technology.

The live session was displayed live at the ongoing Pan African Urological Surgeons Conference Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi. The crystal-clear, high definition from Aga Khan University Hospital’s theatres were streamed through AccessKenya’s fibre network.

"We have powered this inaugural VCS session on our redundant fibre network at a connection speed of 15Mbps. This goes a long way in demonstrating the value of fibre technology to pertinent services such as health care," said AccessKenya managing director, Jonathan Somen.

The inroads into this technology is expected to save costs associated with quality treatment abroad such as air tickets and accommodation and raise Kenya’s status as a medical tourism destination.

VCS uses computerized interface to transmit the surgeon’s actions at a surgical workstation, to the operative site at the remote surgical unit.

It uses a haptic (forced feedback) input to transmit to the surgeon the tactile environment of the operative field.

Access Kenya, Asterisk and Sight & Sound are providing the broadband services and equipment that will allow high definition content sharing and patient monitoring.† VCS technology creates a sense of reality for both patients and doctors.

Dr Saeed Samnakay, who is the local chair of the organising committee for the Uro-Surgeon Conference, lauded the initiative as noble and urged scientists and medical doctors to adopt new and working technologies to their respective duties.

"Technology has not only simplified our lives but also presented us with a unique chance to share knowledge and grow each other’s individual and collective capacity in our service to humanity," Samnakay said.

The three - day Pan African Urological Surgeons’ Association (PAUSA) Conference, at which other live sessions will be streamed from South Africa, has brought together Uro-surgeons from all over Africa to discuss varied aspects of Urology.

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