IVeH & KCS
The International Virtual e-Hospital (IVeH) has been involved in Kosova since 2001 when we designed and implemented one the best telemedicine programs in developing countries and one of the best in the European continent, where we have contributed enormously to educational programs across the board.
After studying the level of research publication and science overall in Kosova, and fully being aware that for the last three decades, the science and practice of surgery in Kosova had been eroded, damaged, and reduced to almost simple “surgical first aid”, while service to patients was offered as a pass-through, directing them to other institutions in the region, or other medical centers abroad, as a consequence, complex and advanced surgical procedures were not performed in Kosova hospitals, with the result that they were not passed on to young Kosovar surgeons either. Lack of infrastructure of education, organizational aspect of surgical disciplines, lack of training and exposure to advanced surgery, and simply lack of vision for a better future of surgery became obvious.
Hence, at the end of 2018, the International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation (IVeH) (www.iveh.org), our academic partners, together with local surgical associations, took the initiative to establish the Kosova College of Surgeons (KCS) as the most important educational and human capacity project in Kosova and the Western Balkans.
Kosova College of Surgeons (KCS) was established as a scientific and advocacy body to lead the advancement of surgery in Kosova. The KCS, a non-profit scientific and educational association of surgeons, was founded in 2018 to improve the quality of care for surgical patients by setting the highest standards for surgical education and practice. The College is dedicated to improving the surgical patient’s care and advancing the ethical practice of surgery.
The College is working together with the healthcare authorities of Kosova to standardize the care, practice, and protocols of surgical care and will work to advance the clinical, scientific, and research agendas of surgery in Kosova to achieve worldwide standards.
The mission of KCS is to unify all practicing surgeons (including those in academic and public hospitals and institutions and those in private practice) across the country, residents of any surgical discipline, and medical students who will pursue surgery in the future. In addition, the return of the brain drain to Europe, the USA, and other parts of the world, is one of the major goals of KCS. This will be done through structured continuous education, policy changes organized through various committees, increasing surgical access for all patients, reducing complications, improving the outcomes, and lowering the cost of care for all.
Dr. Rifat Latifi, President and Founder of IVEH, in collaboration with representatives of 13 Surgical Societies of Kosova established KCS based on the American College of Surgeons (established in 1913).
In the just first five years, KCS has become pivotal for almost all educational and scientific activity of all Kosovar surgeons, taking into account the organization of many activities within the framework of Lifelong Professional Education and scientific work, which is also being done in close collaboration with our colleagues from Albania, North Macedonia, then with Albanian surgeons from the diaspora, and also with international surgical organizations, especially with the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the various ACS branches of the several American states, and several countries in South America.
Our goal is to establish KCS as the main promoter of quality improvement programs in all surgical disciplines, to create mechanisms for the formation of leadership in surgery, which will lead the College to the heights of Modern Surgery, to create transparency of quality and surgical care, as well as making KCS a stable partner of the international surgical community.
For this, we need the strong support of the Government of Kosova and its partners, especially the US Government and its agencies.
IVeH and academic partners (American College of Surgeons, and others) will assist in this project for 10 years using our Initiate-Build-Operate-Transfer (IBOT) approach, which strategy we used for the creation of telemedicine programs in Kosova, Albania, Cabo Verde, and Vietnam.
Since the inception of the idea, IVeH has supported KCS in:
- getting established officially,
- creating an organization with professional administration of KCS (https://koscs.org/en/management/),
- using the telemedicine of Kosova to organize educational programs during the darkest times that the world has seen in recent years (COVID-19),
- organizing Three Clinical Congresses since 2021,
- creating committees of KCS – All 22 of them (link),
- establishing an official publication that today serves as a journal of KCS – we have published 5 issues of the Kosova Journal of Surgery.
- Publishing the KCS Bulletin – regular 4 numbers a year since 2022,
- Organizing numerous CME Activities and new Courses (i.e. ATLS),
For the future, the main goal will be to support the building of “The Advanced Educational Center of KCS” which will have several departments, including:
- The Medical and Surgical Simulation Laboratory (MSSL)
2. The Advanced Laparoscopic and Arthroscopic Training Laboratory (ALATL)
- The Telemedicine and Telesurgery Outreach Program (TTSOP)
- The Trauma Educational Training Programs (TETP)
- Office for surgical guidelines and protocols (OSGP), and
- Clinical Research Unit, in addition to administrative offices, conference rooms, and modern auditoriums.
Finally, we will help KCS build its museum, which will proudly display the history of surgery in Kosova and the region over the last century.