Safer Surgery and Obstetrics

CNIS conducts our Safer Surgery and Obstetrics Program in Addis Ababa, Awassa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Jimma and Mekele. The program includes courses for surgeons and medical practitioners, as well as courses taught at the community level.

Due to Ethiopia’s regional importance and large population, many of our courses were developed and piloted here. CNIS offers the widest spectrum of courses in Ethiopia and have more surgical skills labs here than in any other CNIS country.

The Essential Surgical Skills (ESS) curriculum, CNIS’ first course, was developed at the University of Jimma in 1995, and established in Addis Ababa in 1996 and in Gondar in 1999. It is now taught on a regular basis at five centres, including Hawassa and Mekele. In November 2011, CNIS re-initiated the ESS program in Axum, at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical Col­lege, where nineteen instructors, including three women, were certified. St Paul’s is now fully capable of running ESS courses, which began in January 2012. St Paul’s was the first hospital-based medical college es­tablished in Ethiopia and is aiming to be central to the development of other institutions throughout Ethiopia. This new relationship is an important initiative for CNIS, as St. Paul’s is pivotal to the structural planning and development of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

The Fundamental Intervention, Referral and Safe Transfer (FIRST) course is a community level course, designed to improve surgical and obstetrical care and safety. The FIRST course was piloted in Hawassa and re-tested in Jimma in 2009. The FIRST courses are now offered in Gondar, Hawassa and Jimma. The course is given to health officers, who are often the first health professionals to see the patient. CNIS focuses in this area because too many low risk cases are being referred, while high-risk cases are delayed or not transferred safely.

CNIS introduced the Structured Operative Obstetrics course in Bahir Dar in Northern Ethiopia in 2011. Obstetrical complications are the principal cause of mortality for women of reproductive age. Timely referral of pregnant women from health centres, quality emergency care and skilled C-sections at district hospitals are necessary to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.

The Structured Hernia Repair course have been implemented in Addis Ababa and Gondar.

CNIS’ surgical skills labs were developed through the Ethiopian Innovation Project in 2005-2007. These centres increase Ethiopia’s capacity to train and certify physicians, surgeons, and other health professionals in obstetrical and surgical procedures. When the Addis Ababa skills lab was inaugurated in 2007, it was the first of its kind in Africa. The upgraded lab was officially handed over to the Addis Ababa University Department of Surgery in November 2010. CNIS has also completed Ethiopian skills labs in Gondar and Jimma, with a fourth one under development in Hawassa.

Our surgical and obstetrical program in Ethiopia is made possible by the support of volunteers from three Canadian universities. The ESS training in Mekele is conducted in partnership with Memorial University, courses in Hawassa is conducted in partnership with the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia also supports our courses in Ethiopia.

ESS Directors and Patrons – Ethiopia

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