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PAPSEP: our award winning platform.


Celebrating 2 years of e-learning training for the next generation of African paediatric surgeons!

Kids Operating Room's award-winning online platform, Pan-African Paediatric Surgery E-Learning Programme (PAPSEP) is helping train surgeons across Africa and has gone from strength-to-strength in its two years of existence. 

PAPSEP, which is free-to-use, is enabling paediatric surgery trainees in Africa access to a range of online training. Here, they can learn surgical techniques, pathologies, and equipment tips from renowned local surgeons, with significant input from specialists from around the world as well.

Knowledge knows no borders 

The platform is being widely used across African countries. To date, 173 trainees from 22 different countries have enrolled on the platform. This includes 85 from the College of Surgeons of East, Central and South Africa (COSECSA) region and 88 from West Africa College of Surgeons (WACS) region. 24 have already graduated from the programme.

Two years on, 57 self-guided modules, six forum discussions on Moodle, and 13 live Zoom discussions have been delivered to trainees. The most significant aspect is this - PAPSEP exists to support a pre-existing training program in the regional colleges and partner universities.

Trainees are now saving children’s lives

24 PAPSEP trainees have officially graduated. They are now fully trained paediatric surgeons saving children’s lives across Africa.

Currently, children living in sub-saharan Africa are 77% more likely to die before turning 5 than in Europe & Northern America. Critical to this is a lack of timely access to health care; paediatric surgeons, equipment and operating rooms included. Initiatives like PAPSEP are essential to tackling this issue.

A true team effort

PAPSEP couldn't exist without the paediatric surgeons who contribute their expertise to the next generation of surgeons. Currently, 62 paediatric surgeons (36 male, 26 female) from 21 different countries are involved in the development of modules for the programme. 

Prof. Emmanuel Ameh, a PAPSEP author and paediatric surgical consultant at the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria, told us; “Two years since the launch of the e-learning platform, I’m proud of the successful deployment of the platform. Being able to bring together faculty from various colleges have been the key milestones to me. Tailoring the content to the local curricula means that both trainees and trainers can identify with the topics and contents. In addition, trainees are able to learn more about what they see every day. The impact on local training has been that of added value and improved learning experience for trainees."

Tackling the crisis of lack of specialised surgical workforces is one of the biggest barriers to achieving Universal Health Coverage in low- and middle-income countries. For instance, in low-income countries, there is on average 1 specialist surgeon for over 3 million children. In high-income countries, the ratio is 1 specialist paediatric surgeon for every 47,000 children. PAPSEP trainees will perform thousands of procedures for children over the course of their careers. PAPSEP, the first Pan-African surgical e-learning platform, was created in partnership with the Institute of Global Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), WACS and COSECSA. 

These trained surgeons will have a life-changing, or indeed life-saving, impact for millions of children.

Trainees’ testimonials  

“PAPSEP not only has contributed to my general knowledge in paediatric surgery but also helped me greatly in my exams as there as some areas where I responded to exams questions based on the things I learnt during the modules and the outcome was successful. It has also given me easier ways of responding to certain questions during evaluation. Additionally, it unites trainees and trainers in paediatric surgery globally to exchange ideas and benefit from each other’s experiences. The interaction between trainees and trainers during the zoom discussions is very educative. What I’m able to learn that I couldn’t learn before is some details on the module of Disorders of Sex Development and on intussusception. Plus, I enjoy the way the modules are conducted as they are directed by experts on the different areas thereby making the transfer of knowledge easier and appropriate. What stands out to me as my favourite module is that of intussusception which until today, I wish having more of it.” Alagie Baldeh training at Universite Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal 

There are some diseases that we don’t see in our practice, and we don’t think about. We are able to discuss them on the platform. Additionally, the module on professionalism has been enlightening. It doesn’t mean that when you have a lot of knowledge, you will become a good paediatric surgeon. You must know also to become professional in front of patients. You must be human when you are seeing patients, particularly children,” Carlos Nsengiyumva, training at Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, Malawi 

PAPSEP helped me a lot in my exams because most of the cases we saw in the examinations we had discussed their management as a group.  In a way it boosted my confidence when I was answering, as we had discussed some of the things with the help of our tutors during the zoom discussions. In as much as we cannot meet and share our ideas in person, online meetings made it possible. Further, we get to compare our practice with that of others and that brings change and improves patient care. The program taught me that, we are the same worldwide, we need to think wide and outside the box. Lastly, the module on professionalism has been taught me a lot of important lessons, besides technical knowledge, which are currently helping me in my practice,” Primrose Kufa Gonouya training at Sally Mugabe hospital, Zimbabwe

The platform has given us the opportunity to always go back, at a convenient time, to go through the modules. The other advantage is the access to journal articles related to the module. It gives me access to questions and answer sessions which help me in my studies.” Abdoulie Bah. Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana

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