SURG-Africa researchers from Ireland, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia present their work at the COSECSA Conference and all country partners meet to conduct the second annual SURG-Africa Consortium Meeting.
SURG-Africa participated in the 19th Annual COSECSA AGM and International Scientific Conference, held at the Kigali Convention Centre, 5th-7th December 2018. The theme of the conference was ‘Surgical Infections and Safety; Global Surgical, National Surgical, Anaesthesia and Obstetrics Plan’. The agenda for the conference can be viewed here.
COSECSA, as the second largest surgical training body in Sub-Saharan Africa, attracts a large number of delegates to its high-level annual conference. Therefore, the conference provided the consortium with ample opportunity to network with a range of stakeholders from surgical providers and academics, to decision- and policy-makers.
Presentations from our country coordinators Jakub Gajewski (RCSI), Mweene Cheelo (Zambia), Gerald Mwapasa (Malawi) and Adinan Juba (Tanzania) demonstrated the measurable impact of SURG-Africa’s work. Jakub presented on ‘Non-specialist surgical training, current status and way forward’ as part of a Panel on Expanding Surgical Education in Africa. This presentation gave a general overview of training of surgical providers at the district level in the three partner countries. Mweene presented on ‘Establishing a National Surgical Information System in Zambia – the SURG-Africa project’. This presentation described work put into incorporating surgical variables into the national HIMS through DHIS2. Gerald presented on ‘WhatsApp Group Forum (WGF) Improving Rural Population Access to Specialist Surgical Care in Malawi’. This presentation described how using a WhatsApp group improved access specialists opinions and advice on patient surgical care at the district hospital level. Adinan presented on ‘Self-reported reasons for unnecessary surgical referrals in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia’. The aim of this presentation was to compare the rates and reasons for unnecessary referrals from the district level
Overall the conference was a great platform to enhance the visibility of the SURG and to disseminate key findings throughout the COSECSA region in line with our dissemination plan. SURG-Africa also used the opportunity to meet with academics and relevant bodies interested in implementing similar surgical interventions in other COSECSA countries.
For the second time since the successful conception of SURG-Africa, the team ended a busy week with the Annual Consortium Meeting on the 8th-9th December. This meeting involves all the partner researchers and PIs from RCSI, ECSA, TSA, COM, SSZ, Radboud, UOXF and COSECSA. The Consortium meetings are not only a joyful reunion which help to strengthen the inter-country relationships, but are also an essential to keeping the team in sync with respect to the SURG-Africa research agenda.
Each country research team gave updates on their progress in line with their respective work packages and deadlines. As a whole, the consortium discussed next steps, including data collection, dissemination plans, stakeholder meetings and upcoming publications (keep an eye out for more our papers here). It’s always great to reflect on the impact of SURG-Africa thus far and to plan for further exciting developments.