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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 review and coordination
of these diverse activities is under the
auspices of RCSI Outreach Committee for
International Cooperation.
RCSI/COSECSA collaboration
The collaboration programme between
RCSI and the College of Surgeons
of East, Central and Southern Africa
(COSECSA) has continued to support
COSECSA's rapid growth into a major
international surgical training college.
COSECSA now has over 350 surgical
trainees in its 10 member countries
and beyond. These future surgeons
are desperately needed. Worldwide,
lack of access to surgical care kills more
people than HIV/AIDS, malaria or TB,
and leaves a huge burden of disability.
The COSECSA region, in particular, is
desperately short of trained surgeons
and other surgical providers, with just
1,690 practising surgeons, an average
of one surgeon per every 190,000
population. The ultimate beneficiaries
of this collaboration are the 320 million
people of the COSECSA region.
The collaboration programme is
supported by the Irish people through
Irish Aid, with a new programme
agreement for the period July 2014 to
June 2017. The Irish Aid contribution
is matched by significant in-kind
support from RCSI. It is a 'whole college
collaboration' involving a large number of
departments within RCSI.
Specific achievements this year have
The creation and roll-out of a world-
leading electronic logbook for surgical
The launch of the RCSI/COSECSA
mobile surgical skills unit, which will
deliver training throughout Kenya and
Examinations support through examiner
exchanges, training and materials;
Training delivery through the ongoing
support of the only Africa-centric
surgical e-learning platform;
Running `Essential Surgical Training'
basic surgical training for non-surgeon
cadres in Rwanda, Zambia and
Training of surgical trainers and master
Facilitating the creation of the `Women
in Surgery Africa' group to encourage
more female doctors to enter surgery;
Completion of an information
management system detailing every
surgeon in the 10 countries of the
COSECSA region;
Creation of a basic surgery e-learning
tool for non-surgeon cadres, to be
rolled out worldwide by the World
Health Organization (WHO); and
`Behind the scenes' work in
human resources and staff
development, financial management,
communications, information
management, fundraising and many
other areas.
The programme has also contributed in a
significant way to putting surgery on the
global health agenda by supporting the
passage of the first resolution on surgical
care at the World Health Assembly and
contributing to the Lancet Commission
on Global Surgery. Both RCSI and
COSECSA are also founding members
of the G4 Alliance, an advocacy alliance
created to advocate for the neglected
surgical patient.
Department of Epidemiology and Public
Health Medicine
Community Systems for Equitable access
to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
(COSYST-MNCH), a three-year project
in Malawi, funded through Irish Aid's
Programme of Strategic Cooperation,
comes to an end in December 2015. Led
by Dr Elaine Byrne, Ms Aisling Walsh and
Professor Ruairķ Brugha, this partnership
with Dublin City University, University
of Malawi and Concern Worldwide has:
(i) undertaken qualitative research to
understand the community systems
factors underpinning the utilisation of
MNCH priority services in Malawi; and (ii)
developed, delivered and is evaluating an
RCSI-accredited, technology-enhanced
learning (TEL) MSc in Community Systems
Health Research. The TEL lessons will
be incorporated into RCSI educational
programmes. More information can be
found on:
COST-Africa, the EU-funded randomised
controlled trial ­ coordinated by RCSI in
partnership with colleagues in Zambia,
Malawi and Netherlands, led by Dr
Tracey McCauley and Jakub Gajewski ­
has entered its fifth year. Data cleaning
and analysis is ongoing and a range
of quantitative and mixed methods
journal articles are in preparation, which
will report and explain the impact,
effectiveness and cost-effectiveness
of training non-physician clinicians to
undertake major surgery in district
hospitals in Malawi and Zambia. The
`Failure to Retain' (F2R) 2014-15 RCSI-
seed-funded research on emigrated Irish
doctors, led by Dr Niamh Humphries, has
produced a high-profile journal article,
with more on the way, while RCSI's health
workforce research took on a stronger
global dimension with the start of a new
project on health workforce migration,
funded through the WHO and led by
Dr Sara McAleese and Professor Ruairķ
The programme has
also contributed in
a significant way to
putting surgery on the
global health agenda
by supporting the
passage of the first
resolution on surgical
care at the World
Health Assembly.
Children in the town of Wokru in Tigray, Ethiopia,
collecting water in 5 litre containers for their
households to use for solar water disinfection
(SODIS). (photo: Paul Searles)