142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Building surgical capacity in Malawi: Investing in training and education

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Innes Boland, MPH , Physicians for Peace, Norfolk, VA
Eric Borgstein, MD , Department of Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi
Bibiana Gama, MBA , Global Health Programs, Physicians for Peace, Norfolk, VA
In Malawi, there is a drastic shortage of trained surgical providers to adequately meet the needs of the more than 16 million residents.  While in the US there are approximately 44.6 surgeons per 100,000 population, it is estimated there are as few as 0.1 surgeon per 100,000 population in Malawi, equating to one surgeon for every million residents.  A multi-pronged and integrated effort is necessary to overcome this deficit.  Since 2011, Physicians for Peace (PFP) has partnered with Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and the College of Medicine of Malawi to provide general surgery training to interns, registrars (equivalent to residents in the US), and clinical officers.  This has primarily been executed by international surgical volunteers serving as trainers for three month periods, on a year-round basis.  This collaborative approach with the surgical department at QECH has increased manpower within the nation’s busiest hospital to both perform surgeries and provide focused training for multiple levels of practitioners.  PFP has also enhanced QECH’s surgical procedure and training capacity through the provision of equipment and resources for an additional operating room.  The program now also includes a direct investment in a regional surgery education program for two registrars which provides an internationally-recognized qualification, enhancing the standard of surgical care in the country and region for years to come. Given the resource limitations of Malawi’s medical system, these collaborative efforts have been effective methods of strengthening surgical training, serving as a small but important part of building the surgical capacity in the country.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Explain the value of investing in local partnerships to build capacity of healthcare professionals providing surgical care in a developing world setting. Discuss lessons-learned through the progression of a global health education and training initiative for surgery in Malawi.

Keyword(s): International Health, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Program Coordinator at Physicians for Peace.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.