We are a month out from launching our first training center. The decision to start in Cairo goes back a few years. Dr. Osama Aglan completed a pediatric neurosurgical fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2019, where he had the privilege to work alongside Dr. Ben Warf, the founder and chairman of Neuro Kids. While Egypt is one of the most developed countries on the continent, it is home to more than 100 million people and access to advanced surgical care is limited to the wealthy minority. This is especially true for children with hydrocephalus. ETV/CPC is nonexistent in Egypt, with nearly all cases resulting in shunt placements. We estimate there were between 7,500 and 12,000 babies affected by hydrocephalus there last year alone. Even if every single one received treatment and shunt failure rates were low, thousands of children’s lives are at risk.
In many ways, October 2021 seems like a long time ago. We have learned a lot over the past few months and realized the enormity of the opportunity in front of us. This has been bolstered by strong demand for investments in training, mentoring and partnerships from centers in northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Brazil and Central America.
As with the previous three months, we will learn even more over the next three. Our experience in Cairo will tease out the best mix of technology for virtual training, remote presence and distance learning. We will better understand how to support surgeons and our partner centers toward improving access to advanced care. All the while, travel will be minimal, training optimal and, in the end, more children will receive the life-saving surgeries they need. It’s simple. It’s lasting. And it may be one of the best returns on any investment.