SASES Update: Past, Present and Future

President's Report

23 February 2015

2015 is well and truly on its way as we see out the first quarter of the year. This affords us the opportunity to reflect on the year that has past and look forward to what lies ahead.
Our society has truly evolved into a self-propelling juggernaut that is constantly evolving and improving in whatever way we can.

Last year saw the introduction of a third International Travelling Fellowship to our existing program. For those members who are unaware, SASES now offers its membership the opportunity to travel to an international surgical unit for a period of 2-3 months on a training fellowship. The fellowships are open to all our members and have largely been facilitated through our collaboration with various companies:

  • The Karl Storz Fellowship is hosted by Dr Markus Walz at Straubing Klinik in Bavaria, Germany for 2 months.
  • The Covidien Fellowship is hosted by Professor Willem Bemelman at the AMC in Amsterdam for 3 months. This fellowship has a colorectal focus.
  • The Ethicon Fellowship is hosted by Professor Andre D’Hoore at the University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium.

Last year’s recipients were Dr Hugo Stark, Dr Zaheer Moolla and Dr Nelson Latakgomo. Their glowing feedback will be posted on the website shortly.

Look out for the advertisements for this year. The Ethicon travelling fellowship has already been advertised on our website, and the two remaining fellowship adverts will follow shortly.

The Red Cross Training Centre has now been established as a centre for national training (largely thanks to the tireless efforts of Professor Alp Numanoglu). We host various laparoscopic programs that cover suturing, cholecystectomy and appendicectomy. At present we are engaging with the College of Surgeons to ascertain if these workshops could be incorporated into the training curriculum of every registrar to ensure adequate exposure to laparoscopic training and techniques. In due course we are hoping to establish more units like this across the country to make this proposal feasible. Kindly refer to our website for upcoming workshops.

This year saw your society together with the Red Cross Centre take a massive leap forward in the appointment to Mr Clive Van Geems as the course co-ordinator at the Red Cross facility. Clive’s role would be to co-ordinate as well as host the workshops being held at the Red Cross centre. Clive’s other role is to actively seek sponsorship for the courses in an effort to reduce the costs to our members. We wish Clive (and Prof Numanoglu) all the best in this bold, new endeavour

Last year saw the inaugural meeting of Hernia Interest Group. They have since moved on to draw up a constitution as well as establish a working relationship with various companies from the industry. Together they are focused on establishing guidelines aimed at standardising and optimising hernia surgery for all. Look out for their guidelines in the upcoming national journals as well as the patient information brochures that will soon be freely available on our website. This little document is a colour illustration of what hernia surgery entails and provides useful need to know information to your patients. I encourage everyone to make use of this. HIG also has a session at the upcoming ASSA-SAGES congress in Durban from 7-10 August.

Our Private Practice negotiation has also proven fruitful, with SASES having already previously attained approval of the use of wound protectors. More recently we have managed to reverse a funder’s decision to not allow a SASES member to do a laparoscopic adrenalectomy. After SASES intervention this will now be reversed. Negotiations are still ongoing for the acceptance of laparoscopy rather than open procedures in the management of appendicitis and inguinal hernias.

Last year saw SASES and SAGES play host to the ISUCRS at our national congress in Cape Town. This has certainly proved to be one of our best attended congresses with over 900 delegates registered. SASES also took the opportunity to play host to Professor Willem Bemelman and Professor Andre D’Hoore as our visiting international speakers. Willem is a well-known friend of the society, having first attended the stand alone meeting at Champagne sports resort as well as hosting the annual Covidien Travelling Fellowship award. Andre is a new friend of the society having agreed to host to the recently established Ethicon Travelling Fellowship. Both of our visitors proved extremely popular and were very well received at the meeting. We look forward to seeing them again soon.

This year we will be participating in the biannual ASSA-SAGES meeting in Durban on the 7-10th August. The program will be advertised shortly, and we are hoping for a diverse meeting focussing on topics relevant to the general surgeon from the various sub-specialities. As is always the case, we will be hosting a guest international speaker whose resume will undoubtedly leave you speechless. See you there.

Last but not least, SASES is proud to announce that we will once again be hosting a stand-alone congress in the Drakensberg from 27 – 30 October 2016. The program will be very similar to the last meeting we held in 2011 with a host of international speakers talking about topics ranging from their favourite operation to their worst, do and don’ts and most importantly simply liaising with our membership. Don’t miss this!

Masee Naidoo


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