Shot in the arm for Zambian doctors

Pastest has donated online resources to a group of trainee anaesthetists in Zambia.

Seven doctors at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, are sitting an FRCA equivalent exam in June however revision materials in Zambia are very expensive to come by.

Following a plea from Dr Sonia Akrimi, Academic Lead and Visiting Lecturer, the trainees have been granted free access Pastest's FRCA (Primary) question bank.

Dr Akrimi said: "I'm a former Pastest customer so they seemed like the logical company to approach to help out with the doctors' revision.

"We are delighted that they have kindly agreed to let our trainees use their resources free-of-charge as it will go some way to ensuring they get the qualifications they need to advance their careers and anaesthesia in general in this part of the world."

Anaesthetic training in Zambia only started in 2011. Prior to this, anaesthetists were not trained doctors leading to limitations in terms of their knowledge and skills they could perform. Unfortunately the lack of physician anaesthetists available to support the non-physicians providing anaesthesia, has been known to have a negative impact on patient outcomes.

Led by Prof. John Kinnear and Dr. Dylan Bould, 31 doctors have been recruited into anaesthetic training since 2011 with nine so far having completed. Due to this programme, there is a Zambian Consultant Anaesthetist at five main hospitals in the country. Furthermore, these doctors have created their own Society of Anaesthetists and are now involved in developing care at government level.

Despite such progress, there are still challenges to overcome: "The hospitals remain severely short-staffed and as most people are not used to seeing a doctor in the role of an anaesthetist, recruitment into the specialty is a challenge," added Dr Akrimi. "Their salary is also significantly lower than other specialties and there are fewer senior posts available in the country. We are all working hard to develop the quality of training and support we are able to provide these doctors, not only to increase the number of physician anaesthetists but also to attract other promising doctors to anaesthesia, following which patient care will be able to develop much faster across the country."
FRCA | anaesthesia
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