by Erich Schmutzhard and Eveline Sipido
The 7th RTC took place in Khartoum, Sudan from 15 to 17 October 2015 and was hosted by the University of Khartoum. The RTC, organised by the EAN – European Academy of Neurology, was supported by a consortium of European and international scientific societies:
- University of Khartoum, Sudan
- PAANS – Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences
- WFN – World Federation of Neurology
- AAN – American Academy of Neurology
- IBRO – International Brain Research Organisation
- EHF – European Headache Foundation
- WSO – World Stroke Organisation
An unrestricted educational grant was also obtained from the Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation. Our gratitude goes to the local organising team led by Osheik Seidi. His help and the support of the University of Khartoum and the Faculty of Medicine in particular, were essential for the success of the RTC. The RTC was acknowledged also by the Sudanese Ministry of Higher Education.
Thanks to the support of the above societies, 33 young doctors and trainees coming from 19 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa could be invited to the 7th RTC. They were supported by a scholarship from the RTC fund that covered their flight and stay. These trainees and residents were selected and put forward by the Head of their 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 University of Sudan as well as other medical training centres attended the course and the RTC counted 123 registered participants representing 20 Sub-Saharan African countries. The Faculty for the course was also truly international and its members represented 13 different countries. This three-day RTC had two main themes: Stroke and Neuro-paediatrics.
Faculty: Osheik Seidi (Sudan), Erich Schmutzhard (Austria), Riadh Gouider (Tunisia), Amadou Gallo Diop (Senegal), Peter Sandercock (UK), Jose Ferro (Portugal), Raj Kalaria (UK), Farrah Mateen (USA), Marieke Dekker (Tanzania), Charles Newton (Kenya), Richard Idro (Uganda), Tim Lynch (Ireland), Alvin Ndondo (South Africa), Hannah Cock (UK).
Case presenters: Anne Pita Lomole (South Sudan), Yohannes Debebe (Ethiopia), Ziryab Imad Mahmoud (Sudan)
The core organisation of the course is led by the EAN Task Force “Neurology and Africa” chaired by Prof. Erich Schmutzhard (Austria) together with Ms Eveline Sipido, EAN Liaison Officer and responsible for overall organisation of the RTC. The high international reputation for academic excellence of the RTC is underlined by the wide range of learned societies and institutions that support this annual course. Also the support received from major regional institutions such as the Sudanese Ministry of Higher Education and the University of Khartoum, underline the importance of the event within Africa. Riadh Gouider, President of the PAANS, was invited to present the RTC to the Sudanese national media.
The format of the course was a mixture of lectures in the morning, supplemented by a case presentation by one of the invited trainees and fitting into the theme of the day. The case presenters were: Yohannes Debebe (Ethiopia), Anne Pita Lomole (South Sudan) and Zyriab Imad Mahmoud (Sudan).
The afternoons were taken up with small group interactive workshops to discuss clinical cases brought by the experts. These rotating sessions were intensive, but proved particularly popular with the participants (and enjoyable for the Faculty!).An evening session hosted by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Khartoum and dedicated to the analysis of video presented clinical cases was lead by Timothy Lynch, Hannah Cock and Riadh Gouider. This open session saw the participation of an impressive number of medical students.
On Saturday, Hannah Cock presented the EAN‘s eBrain on-line learning resource, which will be made available to all HINARI countries free of charge.
Prof. Osheik Seidi and his team offered all of us a magnificent, interesting and beautiful social and networking programme that gave us the occasion to see a glimpse of the local culture, music and folklore.
The meeting was organised to a very high standard, and clearly meets the need to build capacity in caring for people with neurological disorders in 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 infections being disorders with a high burden of disease in the region need to be addressed.
All presentations of the course can be read on the EAN webiste – registerd user area – eEducation.
To meet this continuing need, the EAN-led planning group met in Khartoum to start working on the 2016 course. The participants to the 7th RTC were asked to list up to three topics of interest they would like to see addressed in a future RTC.
The 8th RTC will be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso hosted by Prof. Jean Kabore on July 14 – 16, 2016 and the main themes will be:
1. Spinal cord diseases
2. Neurodegenerative diseases
3. Emerging and vanishing infections of the nervous system in SSA
Please also read the article of EAN/WSO/AAN/IBRO/WFN/EHF/LINF teaching course in Khartoum published in ACNR