The UMCG will assist in the creation of a Department of Clinical Genetics at the Academic Hospital Paramaribo (AZP). For this new department, the UMCG will train a genetic assistant and a clinical geneticist, and will help get the specialty recognized by the Surinamese Association of Medical Specialists. The UMCG and the AZP recently signed a memorandum of understanding recognizing their cooperation, and contracts will be drawn up and agreements sought with Surinamese health insurance providers over the coming interval.
Since 2013, clinical geneticist Prof Conny van Ravenswaaij has been travelling to Suriname anually to run genetic counselling clinics at the AZP, and more clinical geneticists have since joined the mission. Starting in 2014, they were also joined by paediatric neurologists from the UMCG. Over time the number of patients seen during the one-week clinic has steadily increased, with roughly a hundred consultations now taking place each year. If the AZP had its own Department of Clinical Genetics, patients could be seen continuously at the AZP and these consultation missions would no longer be necessary.
In addition to participating in the clinical consultation missions, the Genetics department of the UMCG supports the chromosome laboratory of the Medical Scientific Institute of the University of Suriname (UVS). While in Suriname, the visiting staff from the UMCG also give lectures to medical students and provide additional training for medical specialists. The number of lectures has already increased from two to four and is expected to increase to eight per year.
We look forward to the outcome of this cooperation!
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