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Ireland donates virtual reality technology to train surgeons in Africa

The new mobile surgical training unit simulators and can be used by up to ten trainees at any one time.

Image: Endre Vesvik via Flickr

MINISTER OF STATE Joe Costello yesterday launched a new project which will help to train surgeons in Africa.

The Mobile Surgical Skills Unit will provide training in hospitals across Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The unit is equipped with surgical training technology such as virtual reality simulators.

It can accommodate ten surgical trainees at any one time and will deliver surgical training to world-class standards. The initiative is part of a well-established partnership initiative between RCSI, Irish Aid and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Costello said that since the first exams in 2004, 102 specialist surgeons have graduated with fellowships from COSECSA. As of March this year, it has 209 trainees in 33 locations.

“The mobile unit will greatly contribute to improving both the quality of health services and access to those services for communities in East Africa,” he said.

“It is estimated that 11% of the global disease burden is caused by conditions that can be treated with surgery. Surgical interventions are, therefore, critically important to individual patients and a key intervention in improving health outcomes in some of the world’s poorest countries.”

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