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SICOT e-Newsletter

Issue No. 45 - June 2012

Fellowship News

Assiut University/SICOT Training Fellowship Report

Mohammed Babiker Abdelwahab
SICOT Associate Member - Khartoum, Sudan

I am Dr Mohammed Babiker Abdelwahab, an orthopaedic specialist from Sudan. I was selected to join the SICOT fellowship programme at Assiut University Hospital from March 2011 to September 2011. On behalf of all orthopaedic surgeons in Sudan I would like to extend my warm thanks and appreciation first of all to SICOT, which indeed helps young orthopaedic surgeons and leaves a mark on their practice, and to Prof Galal Zaki Said and his wonderful son Dr Hatem Said who made my mission so fruitful. My thanks also go to the Head of the Department, Dr Kamal El Gafaary, and all the professors and colleagues in the Orthopaedic Department who were welcoming and hospitable.

Surgery with Dr Hatem Said

SICOT covered my round trip economy class air ticket while Assiut University provided full-board accommodation in a comfortable guest house with all the entertainment available in order to grant the necessary conditions which would help the fellow to achieve a successful training programme. I also received USD 100 every month from the SICOT Foundation to cover expenses.

Within the frame of improvement and sustainability of this useful programme, I would like to emphasise the advantages, as well as provide some suggestions, so as to have the maximum benefit.


  1. Assiut University Hospital, by virtue of location, shoulders the provision of medical care and service to the upper Nile provinces. Millions of patients are transferred to it with a diverse spectrum of trauma and orthopaedic cases. This exposes the candidate to a great deal of pathologies, and added a lot to my very little experience.
  2. The orthopaedic department has a very specialised staff, which leads to a knowledgeable and sound discussion that changed my way of thinking and broadened my skills in problem-solving and decision-making.


  1. First of all, the fellow should have a clear plan of what he would like to do, for example, fill a gap in his training or increase his knowledge in one of the subspecialties. This issue may be discussed before the fellow goes there and he could be provided with the schedule of the types of operations mostly undertaken. It would be interesting if the Director of the Programme nominated somebody to be a trainer according to the fellow’s plan.
  2. In terms of the timing of the fellowship, it could be held from January to June and July to December so as to fit in the University's calendar, because the great majority of professors and assistant professors take their leave around June and July.
  3. Most of the fellows are eager to transfer this experience to their countries, so I would suggest some supervised hands-on training keeping in mind the medico-legal limitations.


I came to Assiut with a planned objective of being trained at the arthroscopy unit for many reasons. Firstly, I am very interested in doing arthroscopy; secondly, we have the facilities in my institute but nobody is trained there. I spent a full six months at the arthroscopy and sports medicine unit in Assiut. I learned a great deal, from examination skills in the referral clinic to sharing in the decision-making, preoperative planning, participating actively intraoperatively with some hands-on training and following the patients again in the referral clinic.

I had the privilege to attend the last SICOT Triennial World Congress in Prague, Czech Republic. I enjoyed the presentations very much, and it was a strong trigger for me to be prepared for the SICOT Diploma Examination.

At the SICOT Triennial World Congress in Prague, Czech Republic

In conclusion, I have to shed some light upon my own experience after coming back home and doing what I have been taught during my stay at Assiut University Hospital. Honestly, I have to declare that I can now do a full diagnostic as well as therapeutic knee arthroscopy confidently. I have done 20 cases independently, including one case of ACL reconstruction. All of them are documented with their MRI findings and will be published in our first Sudanese orthopaedic journal as well as being presented in the local symposia as an early experience and outcome. I am really feeling that my learning curve is improving every day.

Another benefit that I gained was winning the SICOT/AAOS Basic Orthopedic Surgical Skills Scholarship Award which included a two-day course in April about "Knee Injuries, Getting the Patient Back to the Game", in addition to a five-day stay at one of the big hospitals. Again, it was a good addition to my experience and knowledge.

Finally, this fellowship programme has opened new doors for me and I have further training plans in the near future. I am looking forward to repeating the same scenario with shoulder arthroscopy at the Assiut Arthrsocopy Unit as soon as I complete my training scheme.