MUST Temporal Bone Dissection Course 2017 – Mbarara, Uganda

2nd Annual Temporal Bone Dissection Course | Mbarara University of Science and Technology

The Uganda OHNS Health Care program represents a multinational collaboration to assist in a sustainable improvement in health care delivery to patients with head and neck disorders in Uganda, and more recently East Africa in general. It is a unique collaboration that involves Otolaryngology-Head and Neck surgeons (OHNS) from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Manitoba (UoM) and Massachusetts Eye and Ear (MEE).



Residents from MUST and Mulago with the OHNS faculty at MUST and visiting faculty from UBC, UoM and MEEI.

The Department of Otolaryngology at MUST is dedicated to the task of overcoming the many challenges of providing high quality care to an underserved population in a low-income country with limited medical resources. The collaboration primarily aims to assist in the area of training of current and future OHNS surgeons

With the WHO poised to ratify a new resolution recognizing the increasing disability that results from hearing loss worldwide, training in surgery to treat ear disorders takes on special importance. Under the leadership role of Dr. Doreen Nakku, the Department of Otolaryngology at MUST coordinated the second annual temporal bone course. Drs. Brian Westerberg and Ronak Rahmanian (Fellow) from UBC, and Ron de Venecia from MEE assisted with the training. The course capitalized on the presence of a Temporal Bone Drilling and Surgical Simulation Centre assembled last September at MUST through donations from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and facilitated by biomedical support and funding from MUST, Makerere University, and UBC. Learning how to perform temporal bone surgery on cadaveric bones in a skills laboratory is an important component in the training and maintenance of skills for a competent surgeon.

Participants included 17 residents and surgeons not only from MUST, but also from Makerere University in Kampala, from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sudan. The course, which included lectures and hands-on teaching in the lab, was developed with anticipated flexibility to align with learner needs. All trainees successfully completed the goals of canal wall up mastoidectomy, canal wall down mastoidectomy, transmastoid labyrinthectomy, endolymphatic sac decompression, and translabyrinthine exposure of the internal auditory canal. The Temporal Bone Course is under evaluation by the Faculty of Medicine at MUST to become an accredited course awarding CPD points to participants.


Fellows from University of Addis Ababa and faculty from Mulago College of Health Sciences with the Academic Registrar of MUST and Drs. Doreen Nakku and Brian Westerberg.

The way forward as MUST’s reputation as a Center for Excellence in OHNS (ENT) training builds, is for a larger fully equipped lab that can be utilized all year round and that can handle the increasing number of both full time trainees at MUST and annual course participants. The aim is to conduct at least two courses a year with a basic drilling course aimed at the residents as well as an advanced drilling course aimed at practicing surgeons who want to further their techniques in ear surgery. With time, the aim will be sustainably accomplished with more local trainers providing surgical skills to international attendees.

In the near future, the plan is to introduce a basic Endoscopic Sinus Course to run concurrently with the Temporal Bone Course under the leadership of Dr. Nyaiteera Victoria the local MUST Rhinologist and Dr. Gigi Osler from the University of Manitoba. This will necessitate expansion of the current simulation facilities and strengthened partnerships with biomedical companies to ensure support in terms of equipment for the two courses.


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