(MNN) — Advanced trauma care in West Africa
could save thousands of lives, but training is scarce. International Aid's partnership with Johnson
& Johnson, the West African College of Surgeons, and the Korle bu Hospital
are focusing on training the doctors to change that.
IA's Surgical Skills Training
Center opened two years ago in Accra to offer the
Advanced Trauma Operative Management training (ATOM). According to International Aid, the ATOM
Course was developed at Hartford Hospital and the University
of Connecticut in association with
expert trauma surgeons from the Committee on Trauma of the American College
The course helps surgeons train in orthopedics, laparoscopy,
and surgical operating room technology. It also provides access to mentoring in
modern surgical techniques to better serve a population of 100 million people.
It also means demand is growing. Myles Fish says they'll more than triple the
number of doctors they want to help over the next couple years. "There are
a thousand doctors in West Africa. We would like to get at least half of them
trained in these procedures. We would
like to be able to hold 16 sessions, and there are four doctors per session
that are trained. But we might be able to accelerate that."
Fish says that as they provide the service, they're not only
providing the medical training but spiritual training, too. "Some of the doctors are Christian; some
of them do work in Christian facilities, so there's a direct connection there.
It definitely builds the relationship so we can explain who we are and why
we're doing what we're doing to the doctors while they're in the training. But also we then can stay in relationship with them when they get back to their
home hospitals in the hope that we can have a greater evangelistic outreach in
those facilities once they get back home."
The main obstacle holding back the training program is
funding. Doubling the number of
sessions and the number of surgeons trained this year will cost over
$100,000. Fish says this is just the
first step of a three-year program aimed at making a kingdom-building
difference. Click here if you can help.