About the symposium
On the 3rd of July 2016 medical students from all the world started to gather in the beautiful city of Windhoek. The 2016 IASSS/SASSS symposium was about to kick off with a bang!
We spent the first day playing volleyball and various other games at the Vintage sports club. The day was packed full of fun, laughter and getting to know each another. The night ended with a round of karaoke and dancing, while a student from Tuks amazed everyone with his soulful guitar solo. Tired and ready to see what the week has in store, we headed back to the hostels.
The official welcoming evening happened on the 4th. The team had planned an amazing evening with entertainment that catered for everyone. The night started with Bupe singing a couple of beautiful songs, she was then followed by a fire dancing act. And just when we through the night could be any better, some of the University of Namibia students, Dominic and Irene, played an enthralling song on the violin to end the night off.
Wide-eyed and ready learn, we spent the Tuesday morning in lectures learning about preterm babies, neonatal pharmacology and the golden rules of anesthesiology. This was followed by a debate competition. After a delicious lunch, we headed to the workshops. The first day we had workshops where we learned different suturing techniques as well as how to do a cholecystectomy. The night ended at Joe’s beer house where we were able to experience one of Namibia’s main attractions.
The Wednesday was spent learning about episiotomies and the female reproductive system. Followed by workshops where we were able to learn how to do laparoscopic hysterectomies and wedge resections.
After a full day of learning, the pub quiz was an interesting way to end of the evening. It was quite an experience to hear what random questions the organisers could come up with for the quiz. After we all showed just how much we don’t know, we were ready to end the night off.
Thursday we learned how to read X-rays and had various lectures covering topics on obstetrics and gynaecology. In the workshops we learned how to do bowel resections. That afternoon various students had an opportunity to present the research project they were working on while participating in the research competition. In the end, it was Alex Scott from the University of Cape Town who won the competition. The night was ended off with a scrub run which took us throughout the town. It gave us the chance to see a bit of Windhoek and its nightlife.
The end of the week was near as we approached our last lecture series. During the day there was a top knife competition to see who had learned the most. The winner of the competition was Alex Scott. That evening we had the Formal event and silent auction. The sponsors, doctors from Namibia, University personnel and delegates were there to bid on the donations and enjoy the final night of the symposium. The money raised were given to various organisations in need. At the end of the night the new IASSS committee was announced, as well as the hosts of the 2017 symposiums. The countries who won the bidding was IASSS: Romania and SASSS: South Africa, Tuks student surgical society.
We ended the week of on the 9th of July 2016 with a day full of outreach. The delegates who were left was able to take the money raised to the various organisations. We were also privileged enough to spend the day giving food to the kids in one of the townships
Overall the week was a wonderful learning experience which allowed us to use technology which we otherwise won’t have access to during our undergraduate career.
It wasn’t just all work and no play!
We were fortunate enough to have had great organisers who wanted us to experience a bit of Namibia while we were there.