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Scottish charity launches learning platform for children’s surgery in Africa

To go with story by Ellie Milne. Scottish charity?s breakthrough learning platform for African paediatric surgery launched. Picture shows; Garreth Wood. Unknown . Supplied by Kids Operating Room  Date; Unknown
To go with story by Ellie Milne. Scottish charity?s breakthrough learning platform for African paediatric surgery launched. Picture shows; Garreth Wood. Unknown . Supplied by Kids Operating Room Date; Unknown

A charity set up by an Aberdeen businessman has launched a new learning tool to improve children’s surgery in Africa.

Garreth Wood and his wife Nicola launched the Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) five years ago and their latest project will help trainee surgeons learn the latest techniques.

The platform has been built by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) using the expertise of more than 70 African surgeons and will be used in 26 nations in west, central, east and southern Africa.

The free tool will give trainees tips on the latest techniques, pathologies and equipment to help improve their skill-set so they can specialise in much needed paediatric surgery.

Garreth Wood, chairman of KidsOR, said: “We committed to deliver this project after listening to the wishes of trainees across the continent.

“The mentor-based training regime of surgeons is excellent, but no one mentor can be the best at everything. This platform gives trainees access to the continent’s leading surgeons for each subject.

“We are so grateful to have had such a great team work on this project, collaborating alongside COSECSA and WACS – who were able to make the platform as comprehensive – and relevant – as possible.

The e-learning platform will transform the training of children’s surgery in Africa. Supplied by KidsOR.

“It’s the first platform that’s fundamentally created by African surgeons for African surgeons, which we hope will support and enhance existing mentor-based training systems.

“Ultimately our ambition is to find the gaps and find the best ways to support junior doctors through their studies with resources to help drive the quality, skill-sets and confidence of new graduates.

“We want to help scale the workforce and this platform will allow recent and updated research and techniques to be shared by professionals to support trainees.”

A unique learning experience

KidsOR was founded by Mr Wood and his wife Nicola in 2018 and creates modern, safe surgical theatres in developing countries. Each year, more children in Africa die of surgically treatable injuries than HIV, TB and Malaria combined.

Professor Emmanuel Ameh, chief consultant paediatric surgeon at National Hospital in Abuja, said: “The e-learning platform is coming at a time of increased momentum in efforts to scale up access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care for children.

“It is unique in that it’s more than a textbook, it leverages technology to provide an engaging and rewarding learning experience. Trainees can access high quality information, interact and learn from a wide range of experienced trainers in Africa and create network of friendships with other trainees across Africa.”

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