The Zooming Rural Surgeons

By: Dr. J. Gnanaraj and Mr. Kesochie Chakhesang | Published: AUG 2020 Volume: 9

The zoom software was founded in 2011, by Eric Yuan, and launched in January 2013. It is a video conferencing software. The number of zoom meetings went up from 10 million meetings in December 2019 to 300 million by April 2020.1 Most of the uses were for meetings, lectures, and webinars. Despite being in rural areas the rural surgeons did not lag in using this technology during the lockdown and put the technology to innovative uses.

These consultations helped the patients talk face to face with the doctors now in remote locations. The doctors were able to view the investigations and other papers that the patients had. They were sent earlier by e-mail and the doctors could send their suggestions through e–mail and often had the usual software that they were using at the hospitals for keeping the records of the patients. All the patients felt that the satisfaction was better than chat or call using the regular telephone.

The Rural Surgeons made use of the lockdown time to learn skills that are relevant to them like the Gas Insufflation Less Laparoscopic Surgeries [GILLS] that are possible under easily available Spinal Anaesthesia in remote and rural areas and Rural Urology techniques that are low cost and available to rural patients. These zoom lectures were broadcast by LapGuru 2, and the lecture notes were available in MDcurrent India.3

Surgeons from India, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, and few other African countries participated in these lectures and the NIHR – GHRG group from University of Leeds 4 also helped with the lectures along with the International Federation of Rural Surgeons.5

One of the innovative ways through which the rural surgeons were able to help the patients was through zoom supervised surgeries in their hospitals. They were able to perform procedures like

  • Cystometrogram & Cystoscopy
  • DJ stenting and stent removals

under supervision through zoom meeting. In addition to the zoom camera in the Laptop computer they had connection using the cell phone and using screen sharing in the cell phone were able to show the relevant areas using the cell phone camera.

The rural surgeons were able to start the didactic lectures for the Rural Surgery courses 5, endorsed by the Association of Rural Surgeons of India and the International Federation of Rural Surgeons and accredited to the Martin Luther Christian University at Shillong 6. Here the faculty were able to interact with few students and show them skills using the simulator or training boxes in addition to lecturing them and asking questions to find out how much they have learnt.

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J. Gnanaraj MS, MCh [Urology], FICS, FARSI, FIAGES is an urologist and laparoscopic surgeon trained at CMC Vellore. He is the Past President and Project Lead for the Project GILLS of the Association of Rural Surgeons of India, the Secretary of the International Federation of Rural Surgeons and board member of the G 4 Alliance. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Karunya University. He has over 400 publications in national and international Journals related to rural surgery and has won many innovations award like the EHA innovation award, Antia Finseth award, the Lockheed Martin award, the Millennium Alliance award, etc., He has few patents and the low cost equipment is listed in the WHO compendium of medical equipment for resource poor setting. He has helped many hospitals start Minimally Invasive Surgeries. The popular innovations that have made MIS possible in rural areas are the Gas Insufflation Less Laparoscopic Surgeries and the Laptop cystoscope. 

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Kesochie Chakhesang, has been working in the Audio/Video media for over 14 years primarily as a cameraman. He's currently Press Secretary to the President, Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, Manager of Family Health Clinic Hospital, Dimapur, Nagaland, Member Treasurer of Organizing Committee, Administrator of Project GILLS, Founder Member and CEO of Marvel Meat Co. and Video Documenter for NIHR-GHRG Project India executed by the University of Leeds, UK.

References (click to show/hide)

  1. Zoom usage statistics. Available from: [accessed on August 1, 2020]
  2. Available from:
  3. Available from:

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