160 local surgeons access pan-African training programme for children's surgeons in first three years

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Staff and participants at the Pan-African Paediatric Surgery e-Learning Programme.

The Pan-African Paediatric Surgery e-Learning Programme (PAPSEP), the first ever pan-African training platform for children's surgery, has just completed its first three-year cycle. The platform, which was developed as part of a collaboration involving the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery, brings high-quality, free education to paediatric surgical trainees across the continent.

PAPSEP was developed as part of a hugely successful collaboration between Kids Operating Room, RCSI Institute of Global Surgery, West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). This partnership gathered the knowledge of more than 60 world-class paediatric surgeons and has brought their expertise to over 160 trainees from 21 different countries across Africa on a weekly basis.

RCSI has a track record in supporting surgical education using interactive technology in low-resource environments, and the online platform to host the programme has been produced by the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery. 

Increasing access to safe surgical care for children across Africa is critical. Every year, five times more children die from issues that could have been treated by surgery than from HIV, malaria and TB combined. Nine out of ten children in low- and middle-income countries cannot access safe, timely surgery, leaving them vulnerable to conditions that could have been treated in the operating room.

The next cycle of PAPSEP will begin shortly and will see this life-saving knowledge made available to even more local surgeons across Africa, ultimately saving more children's lives across the continent.

Building on extensive experience in surgical training, education and research partnerships in Africa, the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery works with local partners to develop sustainable surgical care systems in low- and middle-income countries.

Professor Juan Carlos Puyana, O’Brien Chair of Global Surgery at RCSI, said: “The RCSI Institute of Global Surgery is working towards a world where all children in need of surgery can access it when they need it. Surgical workforce remains a huge problem in the strengthening of global health systems, and we are committed to driving programmes which increase capacity through training.

“This pan-African project shows what can be achieved through collaboration and innovation and I greatly look forward to seeing its impact amplify across Africa over the coming years.”