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GLOBAL STATE OF UROLOGY Sociedad Venezolana de Urología

By: Rafael Contreras Rivas, MD, President, Sociedad Venezolana de Urología; Mazen El Eysami Maklad, MD, Vice President, Sociedad Venezolana de Urología | Posted on: 18 Mar 2024

The Sociedad Venezolana de Urología (Venezuelan Society of Urology) was founded in the auditorium of the Vargas Hospital in Caracas on July 25, 1940. It was born as a scientific society whose main objective was to build an association of a scientific nature, which had the purpose of improving the study of urinary tract pathologies and their treatment, helping the progress and dissemination of the specialty in our country, and raising the concept of this specialty, while simultaneously establishing scientific relations with foreign organizations of the same nature.

Today, the Society, founded by a group of visionary physicians, celebrates more than 80 years and still maintains the ideals and objectives of its foundation in favor of developing this specialty in Venezuela.

Urologic practices in Venezuela generally involve the diagnosis and treatment of urinary and male reproductive system disorders. Common procedures include prostate surgeries, kidney stone treatments, and addressing UTIs. Urological practice is highly developed in the country, and beyond economic challenges, there is access to the latest techniques of the specialty.

Over the last 2 decades, urology practice has evolved significantly. Advances in technology, surgical techniques, and treatment options have played a crucial role. Minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgeries have become more prevalent, offering reduced recovery times and improved outcomes. These fields have been continuously developed in Venezuela, and training residencies have played a major role in providing solid education and training to guarantee sound progress.

Emerging technologies in urology, such as robotics and telemedicine, are already available in the country. Indeed, Venezuela pioneered the introduction of robotic surgery in the public health care system in South America. As stated, telemedicine has also made inroads in Venezuela, allowing for remote consultations and follow-ups. This has proven especially valuable in providing access to urological care, particularly in remote or underserved areas.

The landscape of urology in Venezuela has shifted toward more efficient, patient-centric, and technologically-driven practices over the past 2 decades. It must be acknowledged that patient care in the public and private systems is not the same, and this is perhaps one of the most important challenges we will continue to face in the future. Also, our solid training programs have been impacted by the economic crisis.

One of the significant challenges in Venezuela is to remain connected with urology peers around the world, which is crucial for several reasons. It fosters knowledge exchange, collaboration, networking, and continuing education. Through discussions, conferences, and shared resources, staying connected should help young professionals stay informed about advancements in technology, treatment options, and best practices. One of the important opportunities in Venezuelan urology over the next 5 years lies in staying updated on both scientific and technological advancements through an important network of Venezuelan professionals working in referral centers all around the world. Our manpower has extended beyond our frontiers.

In Venezuela, we aim to stay on the dynamic side of urology, embracing continuous learning and adaptability. Balancing technical skills with the unique value of our culture, empathy, and effective communication are key to providing holistic and patient-centered care. This is our main objective.