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The 34th CLASA Anaesthesiology Congress, Punta del Este, Uruguay October 8-11th 2017

The WFSA – Baxter Healthcare Scholarship Programme continues to provide vital opportunities for scholars from Low and Middle income countries to attend international congresses in order to improve their skills, knowledge and build professional networks.

In 2017, five anaesthesiologists from South and Central America were awarded scholarships to attend CLASA’s Congreso Latinoamericano de Anaestiologia in Punta del Este, Uruguay which took place between the 8th and 11th of October. The scholars were Dr Salomon Alvarado (Mexico), Dr Maria Lopez (Mexico), Dr Ruben Toro (Colombia), Dr Julvis Mena (Venezuela) and Dr Carmen Cruz (Dominican Republic).

The congress featured a broad scientific program, based on practical and universal topics with a strong vision towards the future, innovation and development. This was delivered through presentations, simulation workshops and lectures from experts in each topic of interest.

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Below are case studies from two young anaesthetists who were awarded scholarships to attend the congress:

Dr Ruben Dario Tulcan Toro, (Santiago de Cali, Colombia)
Dr Tulcan works in anaesthesiology at a teaching hospital in Cali, Colombia. A major referral hospital and trauma centre with over 600 beds and as a public hospital, it also has limited resources and treats a large number of patients from the lower income areas. He feels that the relatively small number of anaesthesiologists coupled with the lack of universal healthcare and differences in the quality of provision make the transfer of knowledge and skills amongst anaesthesiologists difficult in his circumstances. He applied for the scholarship to gain fresh perspectives on clinical practices and procedures and apply these to patient care in his own setting.

About his plans for the future:
“This scholarship has changed my way of seeing the world and medical education and practice since this was my first trip outside my country. It has strengthened my ambition to continue studying and pursue sub-speciality training outside my country so that I may return to use that experience to improve anaesthesia provision in Colombia. I will also be speaking to students and doctors at my university hospital to share what I learned about new developments and the different practices in other countries”.

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Dr Julvis de Carmen Mena Sarmiento (Caracas, Venezuela)
Dr Mena works in the anaesthesia department at the Dr Miguel Perez Carreno Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. It is a large referral hospital, which services the entire western portion of the city and therefore handles a large volume of patients. Thus far, she has had limited opportunities for continuing medical education in her home country. Additionally, financial constraints prevented her from pursuing the few opportunities that were available. She applied for the WFSA-Baxter scholarship to learn about new developments in anaesthesia so that she can introduce these in her hospital to improve patient outcomes and care.

About her experience:
“I had the opportunity to attend most of the sessions focusing on Neuroanaesthesia and paediatric anaesthesia. This was important for me because statistically, my hospital treats a large volume of neurosurgery patients and is the main referral centre for paediatric cases in the region. The workshops and lectures I attended reinforced my previous knowledge and provided me plenty of chances to engage with and learn from specialists with more experience. I dedicated an entire day to the topic of regional anaesthesia. It was incredible to learn from experts like Dr De La Cuarda, Dr Salgueiro and Dr De Gracia. This experience has strengthened my resolve to pursue sub-speciality training in regional anaesthesia”.