Implementation of a Contextually Appropriate Pediatric Emergency Surgical Care Course in Uganda
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Low- and middle-income countries like Uganda face a severe shortage of pediatric surgeons. Most children with a surgical emergency are treated by nonspecialist rural providers. We describe the design and implementation of a locally driven, pilot pediatric emergency surgical care course to strengthen skills of these providers. This is the first description of such a course in the current literature.The course was delivered three times from 2018 to 2019. Modules include perioperative management, neonatal emergencies, intestinal emergencies, and trauma. A baseline needs assessment survey was administered. Participants in the second and third courses also took pre and postcourse knowledge-based tests.Forty-five providers representing multiple cadres participated. Participants most commonly perform hernia/hydrocele repair (17% adjusted rating) in their current practice and are least comfortable managing cleft lip and palate (mean Likert score 1.4 ± 0.9). Equipment shortage was identified as the most significant challenge to delivering pediatric surgical care (24%). Scores on the knowledge tests improved significantly from pre- (55.4% ± 22.4%) to postcourse (71.9% ± 14.0%, p < 0.0001).Nonspecialist clinicians are essential to the pediatric surgical workforce in LMICs. Short, targeted training courses can increase provider knowledge about the management of surgical emergencies. The course has spurred local surgical outreach initiatives. Further implementation studies are needed to evaluate the impact of the training.
- Medical and Health Sciences