The International Development Committee of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI) has a long history of philanthropy, supporting trainees and surgeons wishing to work in Africa, and of funding bursaries which allow the winners to visit England, observe in Hospitals and attend the annual ASGBI conference.
ASGBI have also run the Basic Surgical Skills course, a two day basic course for surgeons which is now mandatory in all College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and West Africa College of Surgeons (WACS)regions. During the two or three days anastomosis course for nurses it covers theatre skills,Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Infection control, and suturing.
We have managed to run six of the Emergency Surgery Courses which cover, anaesthesia, critical care, general surgery, orthopaedics , urology and obstetrics and gynaecology . This course takes five days and we also run a five day course for the nurses, two covering the BSS core skills and the other three are filled with lectures from the surgeons and intensivists who are on the team. We have done three in Nairobi and three in Lusaka, University Teaching Hospital ( UTH).
Our current project is an Anastomosis Workshop. So far we have also trained twelve nurses as well apart from the other medical doctors. During the trainings they learn to suture, handle artery forceps scissors, retractors and how to be first assistant to the surgeon. We have also covered theatre skills and infection control and use of the WHO Checklist. They work with the surgeons for the majority of the time, learning valuable skills. This also improves the working relationship between the surgeons and the nurses which is invaluable. In collaboration with ECSACON we have reached selected theatre nurses from Zimbabwe,Malawi, Ethiopia and Uganda.
All nurses receive a certificate at the end of the three days. This course is accredited by ECSACON and we are very grateful for this.

Prepared by Judy Mewburn and Alphonce Kalula

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