Bunbury urologist provides life-changing care and training in Madagascar

In April 2023, Dr Sue Chapman led a team of four medical professionals from St John of God Bunbury Hospital over three weeks to the capital Antananarivo, and Tulear in the south west of Madagascar.

24 May 2023

Dr Sue Chapman in Madagascar

Dr Chapman has lived and practised in Western Australia’s south west for more than 20 years and has provided life-changing urology care for over a decade in Madagascar. 

Madagascar has limited health care services and is a user pays system. In a rural area like Tulear, men simply cannot afford to have an operation, and the local medical staff are not trained in transurethral resection of the prostate.Supplies for training in Madagascan hospital

Dr Chapman identified Madagascar’s need for urology services in 2008, at a time when 75 per cent of the country’s population lived below the poverty line. Since then, she has provided essential and life-changing urology surgery and care to people in need up to three times per year.

The team who was comprised of Urologist, Dr Sue Chapman, Anaesthetic Tech and Theatre Trained Registered Nurse, Ms Karen Grieves, Retired Anaesthetist, Dr Phil Smith and Anaesthetists, Dr David Baguley, provided services to the region of Tulear for men with indwelling catheters or severe difficulty passing urine. 

Over the years Dr Chapman and her team of medical professionals have worked hard to establish and furnish an operating theatre in a small privately owned clinic in Tulear where they could perform transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and other endoscopic and open procedures. Dr Chapman working in Madagascar

During this trip, Dr Chapman saw 80 patients over four days in clinic, and performed 38 operations, some of which were multiple procedures in the same patient such as removing a bladder stone and performing TURP.

Dr Chapman and her team have also established a urology training program in partnership with Madagascar’s only medical school in the capital of Antananarivo to ensure local surgeons have the equipment and skills necessary to continue the practice. 

The St John of God Foundation has provided invaluable support to Dr Chapman’s work in Madagascar through the provision of the disposable equipment required to operate as well as medical and pharmacy supplies.

St John of God Bunbury Hospital also supports Dr Champan’s life changing work by donating equipment and disposables for her trips.