Introduction and Recap
Welcome to the final segment of this three-part series that is exploring experiences with Robotic surgery in Egypt. Last week we learnt from Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr about how he was introduced to the field of robotic surgery. We also spoke about the new state of the art 1000-bed cancer hospital and challenges to adopting surgical robots in Egypt. Today, we continue our discussion.
Egypt’s New National Cancer Institute Project
Paul: On a more personal note, what do you consider to be your mission in life? What is the most important problem that you want to solve?
Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr: Well, right now I am more or less devoted to the development of the new National Cancer Institute project, where I am the responsible manager and also the owner’s representative. It is a huge project, in fact it is a medical city for oncology. In addition to a 1000 beds hospital, it is an integrated clinical research center and integrated bench and animal research center. The center is to be internationally accredited to advance oncological medicine in Egypt and across North Africa. It’s a one of a kind facility. We designed it according to our national requirements. It turned out to be the 2nd largest facility in the whole world. The first being a 2000 beds cancer center that is under construction in Los Angeles.
sOME Project Challenges
It is a challenge getting from design to reality, we are building it now, and certainly it is not an easy job. There is a lot of complex infrastructure, it is a very sophisticated building. Preparing for its operation, implementing the necessary processes and systems will be an even bigger task. Another great challenge will be achieving the levels of service quality that we desire and have been planning for the last few years. Addressing these challenges requires considerable financial resources, this is not easy in a country that is an emerging economy. Moreover, this project is based on donations, public donations, so it’s really a challenge on many fronts.
Helping to realize our goal in spite of these challenges is my mission. I don’t know when it will end. We have plans of course, and are working to stay on track to reach our target of having the first phase operational by October 2020. So until then, I believe this is my first, second, third mission and priority. Of course, I am still a practicing surgeon and my patients remain my main concern. This hospital will serve my patients, I find it quite challenging dividing my time between my patients and the project, the project and my patients. Hopefully I will be able to continue this process of making a judicious balance until the end.
Advice for New Surgeons and Healthcare Professionals
Paul: How do you stay focused, motivated and energized to pursue this mission?
Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr: I just do what I have to do, follow a tight schedule, without encroaching on my family time. When you start a surgical oncology career, you are already on the tough track, and you are used to accommodating stress, as smoothly as possible.
Paul: What advice would you give to persons considering a career in the robotic surgery field?
Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr: Well robotic surgery is definitely the future for surgery, however, they for junior surgeons, they should always master the open surgery first. It is also important to understand that there is nothing that can replace good surgical skills. The robot is a tool, not more.
Want to Get in Touch & Learn More About NCI’s Activities in Egypt ?
Paul: I’d like to give you the opportunity to tell our audience about the services you offer. Also to let them know where they can find out more about you, the National Cancer Institute and even get in touch.
Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr: Actually, we are giving high quality patient care at the National Cancer Institute. Already, the National Cancer Institute is considered the biggest and most sophisticated cancer treatment center in Egypt and in North Africa. To meet the huge demand and overcome our current space limitations we are building the new campus I described. We are a post-graduate faculty offering full-service cancer management covering all the oncological specialties. In addition we have an advanced cancer biology research unit.
Our service is the fruit of almost 45 years of ongoing work by my professors and colleagues. In fact, it was one of the first cancer institutes in the world. Most of our staff, like myself, have been trained in Europe and/or in the United States. We have worked in Western countries to get hands-on expertise and become familiar with the latest techniques and technologies. In short, the National Cancer Institute has had a long history of success and we hope that through our determination and continued effort this success will continue for a long time and provide the critical support needed by our patients. For those who are interested in our new project they can visit our web site, or contact me directly.
Paul: Thank you for taking the time to be with us and sharing your insights! We wish you every success in your endeavors as you and your team contribute to promoting health and well-being in Egypt.
Dr. Ibrahim Fakhr: Thank you also.
Coming Next Week!
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