The African continent significantly lags behind in the care of ifs patients, adults and children due to a considerable lack of financial and human means. To address this, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has been developing a supporting programme for Postgraduate Specialisation Diplomas in Paediatric Surgery (PSD-PS) in West Africa since 2014.
Postgraduate Specialisation Diploma (PSD)
Recognised by the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (AMEC), the PSD is a postgraduate degree designed for medical doctors. It is currently issued at the Lomé (Togo), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Dakar (Senegal) and Cotonou (Benin) universities. There is also a Postgraduate Specialisation Certificate, not recognised by AMEC, in Conakry (Guinea). Those PSDs are inherently flawed for two reasons : such national diplomas are not recognised beyond the borders of the country in which they are granted because of the absence of any harmonisation; teaching contents are rather poor. La Chaîne de l’Espoir has therefore decided to contribute its medical and surgical expertise in the training of medical doctors in PSD, in agreement with both the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and AMEC in order to harmonise and improve the quality of teaching in paediatric surgery within the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS).
Achievements and developments between 2014 and today
In order to contribute to the training of doctors enrolled in the PSD, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has been organising and financing theoretical and practical training missions to the PSD-PS of Abidjan, Lome and Cotonou as well as to the paediatric surgery students at Conakry PSC. The programme of the training sessions, organised in turn in each country, is developed by the PSD local managers and Pr. Yann Révillon (Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades - Paris) :
- Each training session consists of two modules with one part generally devoted to orthopaedic surgery and the other one to visceral surgery.
- Since 2014, 4 training sessions have been hosted in Lome, Abidjan (twice) and Cotonou. Students’ attendance was strong, with between 22 and 35 doctors according to the training session.
In 2016, La Chaîne de l’Espoir granted 4 scholarships to students coming from countries in the subregion who were required to undergo their training in paediatric surgery far away from home. With a view to open the training to other universities and students, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has also included Dakar’s university in this supporting programme for PSD.
Future prospects for 2017
A programme of two training sessions a year, to take place in Senegal or in Guinea aiming to strengthen their new participation, is scheduled so that doctors’ training can be continuous and complete and teaching eventually extended to all the fields of paediatric surgery.
At the same time, actions are undertaken with relevant Universities of Medicine and Higher Education to obtain formal validation for the education provided by La Chaîne de l’Espoir as part of PSD students’ curriculum. Either a certificate or a training attestation could also be delivered by a French university.