The need for the workshop
A leaking anastomosis very often kills the patient, yet safe anastomoses can be consistently and reliably made. This workshop is a practical, hands-on three-day intensive workshop covering a wide range of anastomoses and the techniques any surgeon must know. In the UK, this is mandatory training. In Africa, there is a hierarchical structure resulting in a lack of training for nurses. This is compounded by poor equipment and poor facilities: it is not uncommon to find theatres without running water or electricity. The combination of these challenges results in poor team work, poor practice and ultimately, poor patient outcomes, including high morbidity rates.
A successful model
The course is an adaptation of the famed Cambridge Workshop – delivered for over 30 years in the UK and widely praised – adapted for the specific African setting of our trainees, who are mostly operating at District Hospitals. By incorporating nurse training into the workshops, we achieve system change. We improve the skills, practice and team working of everyone in the operating theatre, and as a result, improve both the level of dignity and outcomes for patients.
On completion of the course, trainees leave as better, more critical and more confident surgeons, more able to tackle elective and emergency operations. They also receive a certificate accredited by the ASGBI. Nurses receive a certificate accredited by the ASGBI. In East Africa, the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Nursing provided accreditation of the Anastomosis Workshop specifically for nurses. We aim to achieve the same level of accreditation in West Africa. The Surgical Foundation successfully delivered this course in six locations in East Africa in 2015-16 in partnership with the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa.