The AAAC was the biggest congress I have attended so far in my career and gave me the chance to meet many people at once. I got exposed to so many different cultures, ideas, ways of thinking and living. I was able to make many friends from all over the world.
The scholars’ event on the day of opening ceremony was an unforgettable experience. All of us, the ten WFSA scholars, were presented certificates from Dr Gonzalo Barreiro, WFSA President and the Managing Directors of the donor companies: Baxter, Diamedica, and Gradian (Mr Robert Neighbour from Diamedica in my case). The applause and background music was great and I made a lot of connections that same night. It was full of fun!
I want to share details of the educational activities and usefulness of the scholarship by reporting on my day-to-day activities at the Congress.
Day 1: I joined a very interesting workshop on paediatric regional anaesthesia. I learned a lot from the lectures and simulation based demonstrations of caudal and epidural anaesthesia for paediatric patients. I also received a paediatric simulation skeleton as a gift which is really useful for practising caudal block of paediatric patients. This workshop has given me the tools to give similar workshops in my country.
Day 2: I attended a symposium on training and mentoring in anaesthesia. As a young anaesthesiologist, this is one of the areas where I want to build my capacity. The most fascinating lecture in this symposium was 'Collaborative partnership: Advancing the discipline of anaesthesia'. I learned about the concept of collaborative partnership, its types and components, and most importantly, I learned about how we Africans should create partnerships. I really appreciated the Ugandan experience on how physician anaesthetists’ training was expanded - it is a good lesson for us Ethiopians.
Day 3: A day marked by a lot of fascinating paper presentations in the fields of obstetrics, paediatric anaesthesia and critical care. I also joined a bus trip to visit Abuja which showed me how Abuja city is organised and the culture of the city. In the afternoon there was the important WFSA African Regional Section (ARS) meeting when we selected the new ARS board members. Since I am my National Society’s Secretary, I represented Ethiopia in the nomination and voting process. Happily my Ethiopian colleague was selected to be a board member, a great achievement for Ethiopian anaesthesia!
Day 4: I attended the morning pain session. Pain management practice in my country Ethiopia is very lacking. From the session, I learned a lot of things which we can do to manage our patients’ pain with limited resources. One of the award winning papers that I appreciated very much was a study which proved the use of low dose ketamine prevented shivering associated with spinal anaesthesia. Even though ketamine is widely available in my country, I have never seen anyone practising this method - I promised myself that I would do more research on the topic when I return home.
In the afternoon there was an important WFSA session on education and training. I learned a lot about what the WFSA has been doing and what they will be doing in the future. I also learned about the scale of the global anaesthesia work force crisis in Africa and the way forward in tackling this problem.
Finally, what made the congress even more enjoyable was the conference gala dinner where we experienced the Nigerian traditional food. My special thanks go to the WFSA, Diamedica, the WFSA Africa Regional Section, and the Ethiopian Society of Anesthesiologists, as well as the individual people who made the scholarship possible. I am very grateful for your support. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!
To learn more about the WFSA's education programmes please click here