Prof O James Garden
Our University of Edinburgh online masters programmes directly impacts SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG4 (Quality Education) by providing surgeons with world-class training in surgical specialties. By using online learning as the mode of delivery, we are directly combating the brain drain of skilled surgeons from these regions, increasing the number of surgeons on the ground while also increasing their ability to treat effectively conditions needing surgical intervention. This is evidenced by our Malawi experience where our masters programmes have now supported more surgical trainees as there are currently qualified, independently practising, consultant general surgeons in the country. Our Masters programmes address surgical training needs at every level while retaining and increasing the number of practising surgeons, helping to strengthen the healthcare systems in Malawi. This increases access to surgery, reducing disability and death rates, which has a direct correlation with economic growth. As demonstrated by the following case study: Lughano Kalongolera, Malawi Lughano joined the MSc in Surgical Sciences programme in 2010. He worked concurrently as a trainee surgeon while studying at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi. Speaking about the course at his graduation, Lughano said “Most doctors travel abroad to acquire such knowledge and many do not return. By studying online, I have been able to remain in Malawi to learn, while continuing to treat those who need me most”. Since completing, Lughano has remained in Malawi and is now a Consultant General Surgeon working at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. He is involved in research into HIV infection in gastrointestinal conditions, linking communicable disease with the growing non-communicable disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, Lughano teaches undergraduate medicine, medical officers and the BSc medical sciences course at the University of Malawi. He is an eTutor for the same MSc Surgical Sciences that he completed here at the University of Edinburgh. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-25154176 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4526546/
The ESO Masters Programmes have supported training of 36 Malawian surgeons in the last ten years with fully funded scholarships. The programme outcomes are to improve core and specialist surgical training, encouraging trained surgeons to remain in their own country, avoiding ‘brain drain’ of skills from a fragile healthcare systems.