We are pleased to see Rwandan physicians supported and sponsored for World Congress of Anesthesiologists.
CAS IEF Gala Dinner
The 2016 CAS IEF dinner was a huge success. Over 110 guests enjoyed a delicious meal and fabulous 360° views of the Vancouver from the Vista Lounge of thePinnacle Hotel. The dinner was a celebration of CAS IEF’s 10-year commitment to anesthesia education in Rwanda.
Will Ferguson, author of Road Trip Rwanda, gave a moving speech on both tragedy and regeneration in Rwanda.
The Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation (CASIEF) would like to thank Scotia Wealth Management for a generous donation that helped make this gala dinner so successful.
Resident Experience by Jon Bailey:
I’ve always been interested in cross cultural work, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would volunteer with CASIEF once I entered the anesthesiology program. From previous experiences, I’ve become convinced that education and advocacy have the greatest potential impact in global health settings. CASIEF’s model of a long term commitment through repeated short term visits to provide teaching and mentorship seemed ideal. It provides continuity, ongoing personal relationships and capacity building, while remaining feasible for the average full-time Canadian anesthesiologist. I wanted to experience the program first hand to see how this kind of work could fit in with my career plans.
My second major goal of this trip was to hone my teaching skills, across language and cultural boundaries. Thankfully Dr Jennifer Szerb has a solid working relationship with many of the Rwandan staff so we were able to prepare teaching sessions ahead of time based on their requests. Over a four week period, we were able to deliver an ATLS style trauma course for 25 participants from anesthesia, surgery, and nursing, hosted in the beautiful Simulation and Skills Centre at CHUK. This provided me with the opportunity to develop lectures, simulation sessions and skills sessions, working in conjunction with Dr Egide (general surgeon), Dr Albert (orthopedic surgeon) and Dr Paulin (anesthesia program director).
In Butare, Dr Gaston (anesthesiologist) planned and moderated an acute pain teaching day for 55 nurses, surgeons, anesthetists, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Jennifer, Kristen Bailey (psychologist who also happens to be my wife) and I were invited to speak. I was able to collaborate on an interactive pharmacology lecture with Albert, the Head of the Pharmacy department at CHUB. Then, to make the teaching as practical as possible, Kristen, Gaston and I lead volunteers through simulated pain assessment and treatment cases. Portions of the pain day were repeated for physiotherapists and nurses at CHUK to bolster the newly formed acute pain committee. This kind of multidisciplinary, cross-cultural education is a rare experience for a resident, and a huge opportunity provided by the CASIEF program and, specifically, the Dalhousie Global Health Office of Anesthesia.
Dalhousie is unique among Canadian programs both because of the number of staff anesthesiologists involved with CASIEF and due to the ongoing support of bidirectional resident education. By sponsoring Rwandan residents to come to Canada and our residents to travel there, the Dalhousie program is demonstrating in a real way the value of exchanging ideas on a global scale. Dr Paulin Banguti, once a CASIEF sponsored resident, is now the program director of the University of Rwanda Anesthesia program. We were lucky enough to attend the graduation celebrate for 5 of their residents (the biggest graduating class yet). Paulin repeatedly cited CASIEF’s role in changing the face of anesthesiology education in Rwanda; while exhorting the newly minted staff to continue to revolutionize anesthesia provision, clinically and through education, research and advocacy. Paulin announced that he recently gave up a lucrative private practice to focus on the residency program in the severely under-resourced CHUK, highlighting the ‘sacrifices’ made by CASIEF volunteers as part of his motivation.
Resident Experience by Jon Bailey:
My alarm goes off before the Amitie Atmosphere Bar (formerly Guma Guma) closes at 6am, so as I peel the silicone ear plugs out, the music come pouring in. I slept well considering the dip in the mattress and the heat. In the kitchen, I start toasting bread in the frying pan while I wait for the kettle to boil for my bucket bath. The water is still somewhat cool as I pour it over my head, which is good since it will make the walk to the bus stop in my dress clothes a little less sticky. I pile on to the bus with 30 of my new closest friends who have apparently never hear of cueing in line. We weave through a cloud of pedestrians and motos, while I clutch my travel mug of coffee. I try to drink stealthily since Rwandans don’t drink or eat on the street. After arriving at CHUK, I help the resident set up the room while discussing the multiple deaths that occurred over night. The monitor is broken: the blood pressure working sometimes, ECG never, and the pulse oximeter has been replaced by the mobile Lifebox. By the way, the hospital has a “stock out” of suxamethonium and IV morphine. I guess we’ll use cisatricurium for our rapid sequence inductions today and hope for the best.
I’m tempted to complain about some of this. To be honest, I’m tempted to tell people about this to show how tough I am. Then I remember that our Rwandan colleagues do this every day. I remember that they do it with very little pay, with few holidays – and I remember what they’ve already lived through. I remember our Serena passes, the weekend getaways, the dinners out on the town. I remember that we’re only here for one month, and that I’m going back to a well-resourced hospital with anesthesia techs who set everything up for us, extremely competent anesthesia assistants who give us regular breaks, and staff who have spent years of their life practicing to be effective teachers. The Rwandan staff and residents don’t have that – and yet, they greet us with huge smiles, with gratitude and optimism. They work tirelessly to provide care and, where they can, improve their system. They don’t complain, or brag; only occasionally acknowledging that “it’s tough”.
This kind of experience will, no doubt, make me appreciate what we have – for a while. It seems that this kind of grass-is-browner experience has a fleeting effect on my world view. I think that’s why, for our own sake, we need to keep coming back.
In the build up to the 2016 WCA in Hong Kong, Lifebox is focusing on the WFSA member countries that give it its global reach. Canada and CASIEF are highlighted: http://www.lifebox.org/wca-countdown/
CASIEF is sponsoring three anesthesiologists from partner countries to attend the upcoming WCA in Hong Kong. Along with delegates from 134 member national societies, Dr. Françoise Nizeyimana (Rwanda), Dr. Edouard Uwamahoro (Rwanda), and Dr. Cheik Tidiane Hafid W Bougouma (Burkina Faso) will attend this landmark meeting of language, culture, collegiality and of course – global anesthesia.
Dr. Francoise Nizeyimana won 1st prize in paediatric anesthesia at the WCA. Congratulations!