The 6th All Africa Anaesthesia Congress, Abuja, Nigeria 20 – 24th November 2017
The WFSA Scholarship Programme in partnership with industry donors continues to provide vital opportunities for scholars from Low and Middle income countries to attend international congresses in order to improve their skills, knowledge and build professional networks.
Since 2008 Baxter Healthcare Ltd has generously sponsored some 150 young anaesthetists on low incomes and working in less affluent countries to attend WFSA World and Regional Congresses. In 2017, WFSA were lucky enough to receive funding from Gradian Health Systems and Diamedica Therapeutics in addition to that provided by Baxter Healthcare. This allowed for 10 scholars to attend the 6th All Africa Anaesthesia (AAA) Congress in Abuja, Nigeria from the 20-24th November 2017. The selected candidates were from six African countries; Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
The theme of the congress was “Solutions for Africa”. The scientific program drew together leading international experts to discuss the most significant advances in the professions of anaesthesia. This allowed the scholars to gain valuable insights into the latest advances, risk improvement strategies and guidelines across specialties of the field. The congress’ educational platform provided an environment to share knowledge, connect with professional colleagues and grow professional networks.
Below are case studies from Dr Carolyne Njoki Muiru and Dr Rahel Tilahun Melaku; scholars who attended the AAA Congress:
Dr Carolyne Njoki Muiru (Nakuru, Kenya)
Dr Muiru works as a Consultant Anaesthesiologist and Critical Care Specialist and Lecturer at the Eggerton University Rift Valley Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nakuru. Although it is a 1000-bed hospital with a recently refurbished ICU, there is a chronic shortage of specialist nurses and Carolyne is one of only two consultant anaesthesiologists in the whole of Nakuru. She manages the ICU/HDU department in her hospital in addition to seeing over 15 anaesthesia cases per week and working with various local and international partners to improve services at her hospital. She applied for the scholarship to present her experience and solution to one of the problems with providing safe anaesthesia in rural Africa.
About her experience:
“The Congress was a great opportunity for me to network and meet both regional and international anaesthesiologists as well as industry leaders. Moreover, I had a great time presenting my work and receiving feedback and advice from those present. The networks I have formed and what I have learned (in particular from the critical care simulation workshops) will definitely allow me to take this work and other ideas forward”.
Dr Rahel Tilahun Melaku (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Dr Melaku is the head of the Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia department and an associate professor at the Black Lion Hospital, which is part of the Addis Ababa University College of Health Science. With 39 anaesthesia residents, 40 anaesthetists and 14 operating theatres that run every day, her hospital performs all types of surgery apart from transplants. As head of the department, Rahel provides anaesthesia in cardiac surgeries involving international specialists. She is also involved in other clinical and academic work on top of the administrative duties attached to her position. Her goal is to take the lead in advancing anaesthesia training and practice in Ethiopia and to train competent physicians. She applied for the scholarship in order to network and learn about improving anaesthesia provision in varied contexts so that it can support her in achieving her goals.
About her experience:
“A new Executive Board for the Africa Regional Section was elected at the Congress. I felt extremely privileged to be nominated and subsequently elected to represent the East Africa Section and serve on the board for the next four years. I had the opportunity to meet a number of experienced anaesthesiologists at the Congress. I have already arranged Dr. Paul Zilberman (from Israel) to share his experience and demonstrate the use of low flow anaesthesia to residents in Ethiopia. Additionally, I have made plans to work with Kris Torgeson (Lifebox Foundation) to design and implement projects in Ethiopia”.