On April 21st, six Kurdish healthcare professionals began a 10-day intensive medical specialty training facilitated by A&K Global Health at BLK Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi, India.
Two physicians, two physicists, and two technicians from the Zhianawa Cancer Center, a public tertiary academic radiation oncology center in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq, participated in the training. The delegation’s travel and training were sponsored by the Kurdistan Society for Cancer Patient Support, a nongovernmental organization. In addition to facilitating this training opportunity through our strong partnership with BLK, A&K Global Health also managed all travel and logistics for the attending healthcare professionals, providing them with our five-star standard of service throughout their stay in New Delhi.
This immersive training focused on Total Body Irradiation (TBI), a form of radiotherapy used to prepare patients for stem cell or bone marrow transplantation (BMT). TBI is important prior to such transplant procedures for two reasons: first, it can destroy cancer cells that are hard to reach with chemotherapy; second, it helps reduce the response of the immune system. This second effect of TBI is especially crucial if the healthy stem cells or bone marrow are being provided by a donor, as the body’s natural defenses must be temporarily suppressed in order for patients to accept and integrate the transplanted material.
Kurdistan suffers from a high incidence of blood disease among its residents, including malignant blood disease (MBD) and thalassemia, and the region’s developing healthcare system does not yet support the BMT procedures required to cure these conditions. While A&K Global Health ably guides referred Kurdish patients abroad for such specialty treatments, they must arrive appropriately prepared to undergo these complex interventions. A nuanced understanding of blood disease diagnosis, treatment and management among Kurdish healthcare professionals is therefore essential to initiating timely and clinically appropriate care for their patients.
This TBI training intensive was made possible by the relationship A&K Global Health has built and nurtured between BLK and Kurdistan’s healthcare system, patients and doctors alike. Because we have referred many Kurdish patients to BLK for BMT, BLK’s staff deeply appreciates our interest in developing this clinical expertise within Kurdistan. Dr. Dharma Choudhary, Senior Consultant and Director of the BLK Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant, even visited Hiwa Hospital in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq last year to learn firsthand the kind of assistance and training that Hiwa and its physicians require to progress toward performing BMT in Kurdistan, as well as to demonstrate his personal readiness to assist Hiwa’s budding BMT Department.
Dr. Dharma and his BLK colleagues’ commitment to continuing medical education for their Kurdish counterparts was exemplified through this training opportunity, which has advanced the professional development of Kurdish healthcare providers while bolstering the collaboration among A&K Global Health, Kurdistan’s healthcare institutions and Ministry of Health, and our Indian partners focused on treating and curing blood disease. Significantly, it has also laid early groundwork for a major leap forward within the Kurdish healthcare system. “This training on TBI is one of the prerequisites for Kurdish care entities to offer BMT in Sulaymaniyah,” explains Hozan Faraidoon, Sales Management Center Office Manager for A&K Global Health in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq. “Through this training, we as A&K Global Health are supporting the ultimate establishment of the first BMT Center in Kurdistan, and we are achieving one of our core goals: supporting the improvement of local hospitals to meet local patient requirements, and eventually developing them to the point that patients from other countries travel to get treatment here in Kurdistan.”
A&K Global Health’s objective is to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare everywhere, and to facilitate a transparent experience for all health system stakeholders. In many areas where we work, specialty medical expertise requires travel beyond a patient’s home country borders: whenever this is the case, we are there to manage all facets of our patients’ health journeys seamlessly. But at every turn, we seek to reinvest our healthcare management experience into the advancement of the local, regional and national healthcare systems from which we currently refer patients abroad. We are honored to have facilitated just this sort of opportunity for clinical training and open professional exchange between oncology care providers from Kurdistan’s Zhianawa Cancer Center and New Delhi’s BLK Hospital. We look forward with enthusiasm to the continuing evolution of these partnerships and to their positive impact on the health outcomes of individuals from Kurdistan, Iraq and beyond.
In the photograph above: The six Kurdish healthcare professionals facilitated by A&K Global Health to undergo training at BLK Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi, India pose with their instructional team.
In the photograph below: Dr. Shwan Ali Mohammed, one of the Kurdish trainees, proudly displays his certificate of training completion outside the department of Radiation Oncology at BLK’s Cancer Centre.
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