Around forty percent of the population of Sierra Leone is below the age of 15 years. This means that many of the patients our graduates and students treat are in fact still children. For this reason, CapaCare decided to organise a course specifically on surgical conditions in children, to address the surgical needs of this special group of patients.
“If paediatric surgical care is well addressed, it will reduce the paediatrics surgical burden and the huge unmet need. It will save time, resources and lives.”
This is how Hindowa Sao Lavally, graduate (SACHO) of the Surgical Training Program (STP), describes the importance of this paediatric surgery course, which took place in Masanga in February. It was given to two groups: a group of second year students of the STP and a group of SACHOs. Dr. Judith Lindert, a paediatrician and paediatric surgeon from Germany, with extensive experience in low-resource settings, taught the course with much enthusiasm and said the groups were eager to learn and engaged in lively discussions.
Certain aspects of surgical care are different for children. Judith Lindert states:
“Especially important for the outcome of children with surgical conditions is not only the actual surgical care, but also the care during the operation such as fluid management.”
A range of topics was discussed during the course, including the following:
- Diagnosing children with surgical conditions
- Diagnostic challenges and possibilities with scarce resources
- Essentials of paediatric emergencies
- Care during the operation, particularly fluid management
- Management of most common paediatric surgical conditions
Hindowa: “These topics were very interesting and I learned quite a lot.”
According to Judith Lindert, this expansion of the training in paediatric surgical care is a relevant addition to the STP and the Continuous Professional Development program. CapaCare is considering repeating the course in the future.
“The participants expressed their wish for more paediatric surgery training in the future.”
Proof that the first ever paediatric surgical care course was a success!