Doctors performing laparoscopic surgery in operating theatre

Winner announced in Global Surgical Training Challenge

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A team based in Ethiopia building surgical self-training modules for laparoscopic skills has been selected as the Grand Prize winner of the Global Surgical Training Challenge.

RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences led the mentorship programme for the participating teams in the $5 million challenge which aimed to stimulate the creation of novel, low-cost surgical training modules that will help surgical practitioners to learn new skills to improve the health of their communities.

Ectopic pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal death, and a significant contributor to infertility in women. Women in sub-Saharan Africa have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, with little or no access to minimally invasive, laparoscopic interventions.

The winning team, Team ALL-SAFE, started the Challenge with a focus on the laparoscopic treatment for ectopic pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa and expanded to include appendectomy. As with many hospitals in the region, donated equipment lay fallow in operating rooms due to the lack of properly training surgeons to use them.

Team Tibial Fracture Fixation, based in Nigeria, won the runner-up award to continue their work building modules using 3D printing to teach essential fracture management.

Solving surgical needs

The Global Surgical Training Challenge launched in early 2020, just as the global pandemic was impacting international travel and creating unprecedented pressure on healthcare providers around the world. Against this backdrop, international teams composed of surgical educators, engineers and global surgery experts gathered virtually to collaborate in solving critical surgical needs in low and middle-income countries.

The mentorship programme was led by the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery (IGS) in collaboration with RCSI’s Centre for Simulation Education and Research (RCSI SIM) supported by RCSI Department of Surgical Affairs and a range of subject matter experts across RCSI and beyond. 

The university has broad experience of designing and managing mentorship programmes in Ireland and worldwide, including working with the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and Women in Surgery Africa to establish a mentorship programme for young female surgeons and surgical trainees in Africa.

A focus on mentorship

RCSI is an innovative, world-leading international health sciences university with a commitment to global surgery as a core pillar of its strategy. The university is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world for contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 3 ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ in the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact rankings. 

The Global Surgical Training Challenge was funded by the Intuitive Foundation, and RCSI joined other Challenge partners MIT Solve, Challenge Works and Appropedia.

Watch the video below to learn more about the role of the RCSI mentors in the Global Surgical Training Challenge:

Watch the video

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.