Global Engagement supports first-of-its-kind workshop in Ethiopia

By Mohammed Al Kadhim

January 17, 2024

The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford, jointly with ReSurge International, lead a groundbreaking workshop from November 29 to December 1, 2023, at ALERT Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project, entitled "Validating a Scalable Approach to Microsurgery Education in Resource-Limited Countries,” was supported by Stanford Surgery’s Global Engagement Program.

The 3-day microsurgery training course educated more than 20 surgeons. There was also a concurrent anesthesia workshop on critical airway procedures for 11 trainees. Among the six international presenters in the workshop, two were from Stanford.

The workshop involved intensive hands-on training, lectures, anatomy lab dissections, and the provision of essential equipment including smartphone stands and desk microscopes, which were donated to ALERT Hospital's plastic surgery program. The workshop has stimulated important studies including one of the first to directly examine the effectiveness of smartphones as a tool for scalable microsurgery training in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Among the topics that were addressed in the workshop were:

        • indications for microsurgery,

        • choosing flaps,

        • preoperative planning,

        • hand anatomy dissection (including anatomy, radial forearm flaps, common workhorse flaps),

        • cadaver dissection,

        • post-operative management,

        • complications,

        • anesthesia safety, and

        • peripheral nerve blocks.

“The immediate impact of your support was evident in the training of at least 20 eager surgeons in Ethiopia, marking a significant step towards creating sustainable approaches to overcome the global surgery burden in LMICs,” said Dr. James Chang, Consulting Medical Officer for ReSurge International and Stanford’s Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

ReSurge plans to conduct a follow-up visit in April 2024 to evaluate the participants' progress using the smartphone setup and SMaRT Scale. The long-term vision is to establish a reconstructive microsurgery program at ALERT Hospital. ReSurge will record the number of microsurgery procedures over the course of the research year and beyond.