CURE Hydrocephalus: Setting a Course for Sustainability
In 2000, Dr. Benjamin Warf, a pediatric neurosurgeon, became the medical director and chief of surgery at CURE Children's Hospital in eastern Uganda. He quickly noticed a high incidence of hydrocephalus among his patients. Frustrated by the lack of options for these patients and by the limitations of shunts in a low-resource setting, Warf pioneered an alternative low-cost, one-time treatment for hydrocephalus using endoscopic techniques. This new approach, ETV/CPC, combined two procedures: endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) and choroid plexus cauterization (CPC). Through rigorous clinical trials, Warf showed that ETV/CPC was at least as safe and effective as ventricular shunts but required much less medical infrastructure and post-surgical maintenance. In addition to his clinical work, Warf started the International Program to Advance Treatment of Hydrocephalus (IPath). He also designed a training program for neurosurgeons from developing countries around the world to learn this new hydrocephalus treatment. After his return to the United States, Warf began investigating the role ETV/CPC might play as a hydrocephalus treatment in both developed and developing countries.