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Geneva Experience

United Nations has another office in Geneva (UNOG) which has more than 1,600 staff and is the biggest United Nations duty station outside the headquarters in New York. More than 8,000 meetings are serviced every year. During my stay here in Switzerland I spent a week at the Geneva University Hospital which itself is huge having more than 1,400 medical officers in the many specialties and sub-specialties.

Dr Puskas and Dr Munamua
Dr Puskas and Dr Munamua at the Red Cross Museum

I was invited there by a good friend and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Gabor Puskas, a Swiss doctor who was in the Solomons for more than 6 months in 2006/2007. My experience in Geneva though short had a lot of things to learn. Just like the other hospitals it was fully equipped and well staffed with specialized personnel. French was the common language spoken and written and that complicated my communication skills even further. Luckily I was not there alone so I always had a good interpreter throughout. Now that it was summer traumatology shifted its face from skiing associated injuries to now more motor cycle injuries unfortunately. Luckily I don't have one so that is good.

In the operating theatre one of the impressive surgery was a patient who had a dislocated knee and had a reconstruction of all his knee ligaments primarily then and with his cruciate ligaments to be done later. This case I was very lucky to assist the sports medicine doctor. Traumatology is a field which is seen in every field of medicine and country and thus has been an important area of interest to me.

During my stay in Geneva I was even luckier to attend an advanced pelvic trauma course organized by AO trauma (Synthes) here in Geneva. This was the first time I got to see cadavers being dissected all over the midsection of the body in order to access the pelvis. Most of the participants were experienced orthopedic surgeons in the field of traumatology and pelvic surgery. I was very privileged to attend it as only those who had registered were allowed to participate in.

Well, apart from the medical attachment I was able to visit many important statues and places; UN office, Red Cross Headquarters and also the famous water fountain shown in the picture.

Dr Munamua in front of the UN area Dr Munamua in front of the Jet d'Eau
Dr Munamua in front of the UN area Dr Munamua in front of the Jet d'Eau (water jet fountain)

Geneva is an international city seen by its different population enriched by their cultures and displayed by the variety of building architecture; not the typical Swiss buildings. However within and around the city one can still see the embedded history of the Swiss influence in this very important city. All in all it was indeed a good learning experience for me and one to remember always.

© May 2010, Dr Alex Bradley Munamua

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