US team supports KATH doctors to improve anaesthesia care
Resident Doctors and consultant anaesthetists at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi are benefitting from up-to-date training to equip them to provide safe anaesthesia. The collaboration between KATH and a visiting medical team from the Hospital for Special Surgeries (HSS) in the US is helping control pain using the nerve blocks for patients, who undergo orthopaedic and plastic surgeries of the upper and lower limbs. Known as Global Regional Anaesthesia Curriculum Engagement (GRACE), the programme aims to equip physician anaesthetists from the teaching hospital to increase the numbers and types of nerve blocks performed in a bid to better manage pain as well as decrease mortalities stemming from risks of General anaesthesia. Dr Alfred Jacob Aidoo, a Resident Doctor at the Department of Anaesthesiology, KATH, and a beneficiary of the programme, the intervention was safer and more cost effective in providing anaesthesia during surgical procedures at the hospital. He said injured patients, who hitherto endured pain, whilst waiting for their turn to be operated upon would benefit immensely. “The training programme has been effective since it has increased their confidence level in doing more nerve blocks and teach other visiting physician anaesthetists from neighbouring countries and beyond that patients are more comfortable with this method," he said. Dr Aidoo said the intervention would go a long way to encourage physicians to practice the nerve blocks in low resource areas. Dr Mark Brouillette, a member of the visiting team, said the motivation for the training was because of his first encounter with KATH, then a medical student 10 years ago.
"Upon my visit to KATH, I undertook research at the orthopaedic and trauma department as well as anaesthesia care, after which I found out that, there were huge numbers of cases where the arms and legs were injured as a result of road accidents," he said.
He said at that time, everyday "we saw severe, open fractures, severely wounded patients who were in a lot of pain. These experiences drove my interest in anaesthesia”.
Dr Brouillette said surgeries are a major problem to patients because of the fear of pain associated with it and the mortality rate related to surgeries at the hospital was high.
He said with these difficulties, he decided to embark on this training programme with his team to train doctors to increase skills in pain management and make surgeries safer and more comfortable with the little resources available.
The Team Leader said unlike the general anaesthesia, nerve blocks was safer and comes with a lot of advantages.
Dr Sanjeev Singah, the Head of the Department, said the training has been helpful ever since it began adding, “the training has built the confidence level of doctors to perform nerve blocks for surgeries and also teach others." He expressed gratitude to the team for extending their help to the Department in helping curb some of the concerns that comes with surgeries.
He said it is encouraging to know that the partnership has been awarded, the Society for Education in Anaesthesia Philip Liu Award for Innovations in Anaesthesia Training for the abstract titled: “Design, Implementation, and Measurement of a Regional Anaesthesia Training Programme for Limited-Resource Settings.”
Beneficiary patients have expressed gratitude to the team from HSS who were at the hospital for two weeks as part of a twice-yearly training visit led by Dr Mark Brouillette, Richard Kahn, Jacques Yadeau, Ben Johnson and Patrick Laughlin.
KATH is a recognized training site for doctors from World Federation of Societies of Aneasthesiologists and has doctors from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Egypt and Burkina Faso attend these training programme since it began about a year ago with tremendous success in their set goals.