Report of EAN/WSO/AAN/AFAN/IBRO/WFN/IPDMDS 8th Regional Teaching Course (RTC) on Neurology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Maputo, Mozambique 10th -12th November, 2016

The 8th RTC took place in Maputo, Mozambique and was hosted by the Eduardo Mondlane University of Maputo, Mozambique. The RTC, organised by the EAN, was supported by a consortium of African and international scientific societies:
  •   Eduardo Mondlane University of Maputo, Mozambique.
  •   AFAN African Academy of Neurology
  •   WFN - World Federation of Neurology
  •   AAN - American Academy of Neurology
  •   IBRO - International Brain Research Organisation
  •   IPDMDSInternational PD and Movement Disorder Society
  •   WSO - World Stroke Organisation

    Our gratitude goes to the local organising committee led by Amina Ismael Daude and Lucia Chambal. Her help and the support of the Mozambican Ministry of Higher Education and the Faculty of Medicine at the Eduardo Mondlane University was essential for the success of the RTC. Thanks to their support, 23 young doctors and trainees coming from 12 SSA countries were invited to the 8th RTC and supported by a scholarship from the RTC fund. These individuals were selected by the course organisers from a larger number of neurological trainees who had been put forward by their Head of Department as potential course participants. Thus these selected participants represent some of the very best trainees from across Africa. Many doctors and trainees from the Eduardo Mondlane University and the Maputo Central Hospital as well attended the course; the RTC counted 100 registered participants. The Faculty for the course was truly international. This three-day RTC had three main themes: stroke, epilepsy and HIV and the nervous system in SSA.
    The RTC was also acknowledged by the Mozambican Ministry of Health. Mr. Mouzinho Saide, Vice Minister for Health of Mozambique opened the works of the 8th RTC and stressed the importance of courses such as this Regional Teaching Course for Africa. He welcomed addressing topics such as stroke, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy that are key health issues on the African continent. He thanked the EAN for bringing the course to Africa and allowing Mozambican and African doctors to have access to excellent teaching on site. He finished his introduction by mentioning that in Mozambique, there are only 6 neurologists for 25 million people and expressed the hope that the RTC will enhance interest in neurology among the participants.

The Opening Ceremony of the 8th Regional Teaching Course

Faculty: Guenther Deuschl (Germany), Erich Schmutzhard (Austria), Amina Ismael Daude (Mozambique), Albertino Damasceno (Mozambique), Riadh Guider (Tunisia), Augustina Charway - Felli (Ghana), Rufus Akinyemi (Nigeria), Jose Ferro (Portugal), Raj Kalaria (UK), David B. Clifford (USA), Charles Newton (Kenya), Suzaan Marais (South Africa), Christian Napon (Burkina Faso), Jo Wilmshurst(South Africa), Hannack Cock (UK). Case presenters were M. Rabiu (Nigeria), M. Mekki (South Africa) and Cadmiela da Graca Arroz (Mozambique).
The core organisation of the course is led by the “Neurology and SSA” Task Force team at the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) chaired by Prof. Erich Schmutzhard (Austria) together with Ms Eveline Sipido, EAN Liaison Officer. The high international reputation for academic excellence of the course is underlined by the wide range of learned societies and institutions that support this annual course.
The support received from major regional institutions such as the Mozambican Ministry of Higher Education and the Eduardo Mondlane University of Maputo, highlight the importance of the event within Africa. Dr. Augustina Charway- Felli, represented the African Academy of Neurology and Prof. Riadh Gouider participated as WFN envoy to the RTC. Dr Rufus Akinyemi represented the WSO.
The format of the course was a mixture of lectures in the morning, supplemented by a case presentation fitting into the theme of the day. The afternoons were taken up with small group interactive workshops to discuss cases brought by the experts; these sessions were intensive, but proved particularly popular with the participants (and enjoyable for the Faculty!) (see below).

Prof Jose Ferro (Portugal) delivering a presentation on stroke

Other highlights included a ‘video dinner’ interactive session with the faculty on movement disorders and epilepsy and a demonstration by Dr Hannah Cock (EAN Director of Education) of eBrain, the EAN e-learning system. . A clinical case presented by the invited resident Musbahu Rabiu (Nigeria) completed the evening.
It was a real privilege to attend the course as a teacher and to learn from the clinical and scientific expertise of the faculty in the sessions and in the discussions. While the international faculty might bring knowledge of recent scientific advances to the table, the regional faculty brought their extremely rich clinical experience and wisdom in how to apply that knowledge in the diverse health care systems of Africa. Likewise, the trainees brought a great many questions that arose from their daily practice; this unique opportunity for them to ask the Faculty questions and to network with their peers from across the continent was something they really valued. There was also a formal ‘Meet the Professor session’ and a presentation of the EAN-‘s eBrain on-line learning resource, which will be made available free of charge to all low-income and HINARI countries

The meeting was organised to a very high standard, and clearly met the need to build capacity in caring for people with neurological disorders on the African continent, where the burden of disease related to both communicable and non-communicable diseases of the nervous system is high; stroke in adults and - in children - epilepsy and HIV being a major infection of both adults and children being disorders with a high burden of disease in the region.
To meet this continuing need, the EAN-led planning group met in Maputo to plan the next course. The participants at the 8th RTC were asked to list up to three topics of interest they would like to see addressed in a future RTC. From the compilation of the topics received, two that had the highest request were identified for the 2017 RTC.
The 9th RTC will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso hosted by Prof. Jean Kabore. The dates of the RTC are to be decided.
Following the analysis of the proposed topics and with the input of the faculty, the following topics were identified for the 9th RTC:
  1. Neurodegenerative disorders movement disorders
  2. Neuromuscular diseases with an emphasis on the clinical aspects
  3. Spinal cord diseases
Given the escalating burden of stroke in Africa, the enthusiasm of the course participants and the very large numbers of questions fielded by the Faculty about stroke over the course of the RTC, I have no doubt that the support from the WSO will prove to have been an extremely cost-effective investment that will help develop a cadre of stroke neurologists in Africa to tackle the emerging epidemic of NCDs there.

Rufus Akinyemi 
Erich Schmutzhard 
Eveline Sipido

Report of EAN/WSO/AAN/AFAN/IBRO/WFN/IPDMDS 8th Regional Teaching Course (RTC) on Neurology in Sub-Saharan Africa. Maputo, Mozambique 10th -12th November, 2016 Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Monday, January 09, 2017 Rating: 5

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