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New learning platform for paediatric surgery in Africa
by Kate Smith

News

Today, Kids Operating Room launches a new learning platform which will transform training for paediatric surgeons in Africa. The platform has been built by the Institute of Global Surgery at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in partnership with over 70 African surgeons from the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and the West African College of Surgeons (WACS).

It is Africa’s first comprehensive paediatric surgery e-learning platform, aligning curricula and helping drive up the quality and skill set of new graduates able to specialise in paediatric surgery, which faces a drastic skills shortage and huge unmet demand.

Its launch coincides with the World Health Assembly, raising awareness that more children in Africa die of surgically treatable injuries than HIV, TB and Malaria combined.

The e-learning programme is unique for two key reasons. Firstly, because it unites the training programmes of the continent’s two main surgical colleges, something that has never happened before. Secondly, by enrolling local surgeons to write the content, the first time an e-learning programme for children’s surgery in Africa has been written by African surgeons, it is hoped that there will be an increase in the number of trainees who graduate and that all of them will be of an even higher standard thanks to regular access to the platform.

Garreth Wood, Chair of KidsOR, said: “We committed to deliver this project after listening to the wishes of trainees across the continent. The mentor-based training regime of surgeons is excellent, but no one mentor can be the best at everything. This platform gives trainees access to the continent’s leading surgeons for each subject.”

The free to use service enables trainees enrolled in surgical college training programmes to have direct access to online content and tutorials, creating a space for trainees to learn surgical techniques, management and the underlying sciences.

Prof Godfrey Muguti, President of COSECSA said: “When the online training platform for children’s surgery in Africa was first announced by KidsOR we did not know about Covid 19. We knew an online programme would benefit our trainees, that it would be much more valuable if it was written by African surgeons for African trainees, and we knew that by working with our friends and partners at WACS we would help ensure the highest quality graduates across Africa.”

Professor Emmanuel Ameh- Professor and Chief Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria said: “The E-learning platform is coming at a time of increased momentum in efforts to scale up access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care for children. It is unique in that it’s more than a textbook, it leverages technology to provide an engaging and rewarding learning experience. Trainees can access high quality information, interact and learn from a wide range of experienced trainers in Africa and create network of friendships with other trainees across Africa”

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