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76 RCSI Annual Report 2012/13
CommunIty
GLOBAL INITIATIVES
RCSI is committed to advancing the
health and wellbeing of people in
the developing world by sharing
knowledge and providing training
and expertise in medicine, research,
healthcare and surgery. The
strengthening of programmes,
in Africa in particular, was seen
in 2012/2013. The review and
coordination of these diverse
activities is under the auspices of
RCSI OUTREACH, Committee for
International Cooperation.
RCSI/COSECSA Collaboration Programme
RCSI's collaboration programme with COSECSA (The College of
Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa) helped the African
college train surgeons across 10 countries to meet the vast unmet
need for surgery in the region. Access to basic surgery in Sub-
Saharan Africa can change health outcomes decisively, from death
to a four-week recovery or from being seriously crippled for life to
having a mild limp.
The programme has enabled COSECSA to increase its training
numbers exponentially and put structures in place for sustainability
and continued expansion. The programme enabled a full-time
COSECSA CEO to be appointed for the first time and secured
funding agreements from regional ministries of health. A new
information management system was rolled out and staff training
and exchanges in vital areas continued to pay dividends. With
programme assistance and training, the COSECSA written exam
was completely overhauled. External examiners were provided at
the annual clinical/viva exams.
In the area of IT, the COSECSA e-learning platform was upgraded
and expanded. With new features such as a comprehensive regional
course calendar, the COSECSA website has grown into a hub for
surgical training information in the region.
Professor Ciaran O'Boyle and Mr Dermot O'Flynn of RCSI's Institute
of Leadership delivered six courses in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia,
and have now trained 146 surgeons throughout the region in
teaching methodology needed to train surgical skills. Professor
Clive Lee, Professor Mary Leader and Mr Dom Colbert continued to
deliver basic science courses with the most recent courses hosted in
Tanzania and Mozambique. A total of 27 surgeons are being trained
over three years as COSECSA's basic science faculty. In Zimbabwe,
a pilot project training rural hospital doctors in basic surgical
techniques has so far proven very positive. Other courses took place
in Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
The programme facilitated other international partners to begin and
grow their surgical training interventions in the region, and initiated a
system of coordination.
The challenges of coordinating a common training programme
across such a vast area, home to nearly 300 million people, remain
formidable, but the RCSI/COSECSA collaboration will continue to
strengthen COSECSA in all areas to meet this challenge.
Linking Global and Irish Health Workforce Research
In 2012-13, three research projects, two ongoing and one, based
in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine,
have focused on the global dimensions of the health workforce. The
HRB-funded doctor migration Project (2011-2014), led by RCSI
in collaboration with TCD, is assessing the contribution of non-EU
migrant doctors to Ireland's medical workforce. There were two
publications and 366 foreign doctors completed an online survey.
The research team includes Dr Niamh Humphries, Sara McAleese
and Professor Ruairi Brugha.
One Irish Aid funded project (Connecting Health Research in africa
and Ireland Consortium, 2007-2013) is coming toward an end and a
second (Community Systems Strengthening for equitable maternal,
newborn and Child Health [CoSySt-mnCH], 2012- 2015) has
commenced. Both aim to support health system's research capacities
in African countries. COSYST-MNCH is developing a blended
learning Masters in Community Systems Research with the College
of Medicine in Malawi. RCSI staff include Dr Elaine Byrne, Aisling
Walsh, Fiona Wright and Professor Ruairi Brugha.
Professor Kevin McGuigan
with Julius Tumwebaze,
School Kabuyoga Primary
School, overseeing
harvested rainwater
set out for solar water
disinfection (SODIS).