The Minister of Health, Dr. Fuad Khan, hopes this week’s Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery Workshop can help usher in a new era of health innovation in the country.
Speaking with reporters at the Workshop on Wednesday, he said the introduction of robotic surgery could have several benefits for the country.
Dr. Khan said while there was no facility in Trinidad or the Caribbean region with the robot at the moment, it was important for doctors to learn the various possibilities.
“It’s geared towards development and the promotion of robotic laparoscopy. Now, laparoscopy as you know it, is a two-dimensional approach to the keyhole surgery. The robot gives you a three-dimensional approach. It’s faster to learn. It’s like if you actually open up a human being and looking inside. The laparoscopic approach is done on a screen so there is no depth. So you have to learn depth penetration.”
The Minister said the cost of obtaining and setting up a robot would cost $6 million – money he believes would be well spent due to the possibilities it would open up.
“What we, and I, intend to do is to work together with the different Regional Health Authorities to produce what we call the educational tourism. Educational tourism where we could utilise the robot with the help of the Da Vinci system and the Da Vinci manufacturers where we could bring people to Trinidad and Tobago to develop their skills in robotic technology and in doing so, it would start the process of educational tourism.”
Dr. Barry Maraj, a Consultant Surgeon of the Whittington Hospital in England and specialist in robotic surgery, is spearheading the seminar.
He said the introduction of the surgery is important in combating prostate cancer in particular. He pointed out the Caribbean has the highest mortality rate in the world for prostate cancer.
“Robotic surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery that was developed, and has been developing, with a view to reduce the morbidity associated with open surgery and laparoscopy. Secondly, we know that robotic surgery results in a reduction in what we call outcomes, oncological outcomes, in that we are seeing less positive margins, less biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer.”
The Minister of Health explained that while robotic surgery was first used mainly for prostate surgery, it has since evolved, allowing practitioners to operate on other areas of the body including the colon and the liver…
The workshop ended on Thursday…