|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 111-112
My experience with medical oncology fellowship training at the Tata Memorial Hospital
Mahamat Saleh Baldass
Department of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Health Science, King Faysal University of Chad; Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospital for Mother and Child, N'djamena, Chad
|Date of Submission||04-Apr-2021|
|Date of Decision||16-Apr-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||17-Jan-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||31-Mar-2022|
Mahamat Saleh Baldass
Department of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Health Science, King Faysal University of Chad, N'djamena
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Baldass MS. My experience with medical oncology fellowship training at the Tata Memorial Hospital. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2022;5:111-2
My name is Dr. Mahamat Saleh Baldass. I am a physician and Director of the King Faisal University Medical Center in the Republic of Chad in Africa. I completed the 1-year Adult Medical Oncology Fellowship training at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India. I was awarded the Merck Africa Oncology Fellowship through the office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity of the Republic of Chad, considering the rising incidence of cancer and the lack of local oncology management services, personnel, and training. This fellowship was designed to facilitate cancer management locally in the Republic of Chad given the high cost of treatment abroad.
My medical oncology fellowship training program was supervised by Prof. Kumar Prabhash and Dr. Vanita Noronha, who designed my training schedule to cover solid 1 (breast, gynecological, gastrointestinal, bone, and soft tissue), solid 2 (thoracic, head and neck, brain, urological), and adult hematolymphoid malignancies. As a part of this program, we evaluated patients to confirm the presence of cancer and determined the stage of the disease to ascertain the appropriate treatment. Evaluation of patients was done through multidisciplinary management teams.
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic adversely affected my training as a result of the nationwide lockdown that was imposed to curtail its spread, which eventually led to reduced patient footfalls., However, the implementation of an effective infection prevention protocol allowed my training to progress virtually with lectures and conferences being held through online platforms.
While training at the Tata Memorial Hospital, I noticed that the burden of cancer in India is similar to that in my country. Therefore, I can appreciate why India offers cost-effective treatment, which attracts many referrals from all over the world. This emphasizes the appropriateness of my training and its relevance to the people of the Republic of Chad.
My experience at the Tata Memorial Hospital was mixed, with both good and challenging situations. The medical staff were helpful, friendly, and approachable to open discussions. However, the language was a barrier at times. On a few occasions, the treating team would discuss the medical cases with each other in Hindi or Marathi, and I had to remind them to discuss in English. I believe that the training program would be more beneficial if supervision and mentorship were strengthened. Adjusting to the spicy food was another challenge.
One of the things that I was most impressed with during my stay in India was the way of dealing with the patient, as the attending physician took sufficient time to talk and discuss with the patient and his/her relatives regarding the method of treatment and the plan, and the patient had the option to choose the treatment that was best for him/her in financial terms. I also noticed that there are many charitable organizations working to help cancer patients in terms of funding for examinations, medicines, transportation, and housing, and this was very important given the high poverty rate in Indian society. I noticed a large number of foreign patients at the Tata Memorial Hospital, especially from Bangladesh. The best thing was that most of them spoke Hindi. While I was posted there, I saw a patient from Bangladesh who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She started her chemotherapy treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital and then decided that she wanted to continue the treatment in her country. The treating doctors prepared the treatment plan and provided her with the protocol so that she could continue the same treatment locally at her hometown.
My experience in India was beyond my expectations, and I cannot express my happiness for having received such an opportunity. I am honored to be the first doctor from Chad to have joined this prestigious training program at an internationally acclaimed reference hospital, which is leading the way in cancer education, treatment, and research, not only in India, but also the world at large.
The expertise I acquired through this training at the Tata Memorial Hospital will benefit patients with cancer in Chad. Moreover, it will help improve oncology health services, research, and training in Chad. This will allow my country to achieve universal health coverage and improve the safety of oncology services in my country.
I would like to express gratitude and appreciation toward the head of the training program, Prof. Banavali, the head of the Department of Medical Oncology, residents in the Department of Medical Oncology, unit consultants, and all the medical and non-medical staff working at the Tata Memorial Hospital.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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