Albertina Nakale Windhoek-In its drive to improve academic development, the University of Namibia (Unam) has introduced a new course that would transform medical care to produce its own specialist anaesthetists for the first time in Namibia. An anaesthetist is a medical specialist who administers drugs to induce sleep or insensitivity to pain on patients before surgery. The university’s spokesperson Simon Namesho explained that the life-saving medical care would be transformed in Namibia by a new postgraduate course to dramatically increase the number of state anaesthetists. Namesho noted that the training would help address the acute shortage of anaesthetists, which leaves patients facing long waiting lists for surgery and a lack of specialist care during emergency operations. He said the first six students have just started the university’s new Masters in Anaesthesia, supported by the highly successful Phoenix Project partnership with Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom. They will be the first specialist anaesthetists trained in the country. The students will transform the number of dedicated anaesthetists available, building self-sufficiency for the training of specialist anaesthetists in Namibia and improving the quality of patient care. Professor Frednard Gideon, Pro-Vice Chancellor: Academic Affairs at Unam said the start of the training of the anaesthetists is a huge relief to the healthcare and pain management delivery in the public hospitals in Namibia. “It is also key for a sustainable system of a training programme for doctors as anaesthetists in the country,” Gideon said. According to a student on the master’s programme in anaesthesia, Ebba Shaanika, both in private and public health sector, Namibia currently does not have enough anaesthetists. “We are happy to be part of the first group on the master’s programme to specialise in the field, as it is an important part when patients undergo an operation or surgery,” she expressed. Phoenix Project leader Professor Judith Hall, of Cardiff University, who is herself a anaesthetist consultant, came up with the idea for the new anaesthesia course and worked with partners at Unam to develop it. She said surgery can save lives but one cannot have surgery without anaesthesia, and Namibia has very few state anaesthetists. She feels this masters programme will create a new body of professional anaesthetics doctors in Namibia in sufficient numbers to truly transform care. The six students from across Namibia are the first to take the course, which will equip them with specialist anaesthesia training and skills not currently provided in Namibia. The training will lead to improved support for surgical care and provide leadership for specialist anaesthetic care throughout the country. The Phoenix Project, a mutually beneficial collaboration between Cardiff University and Unam, has previously provided intensive crash courses in anaesthesia and critical care skills for students and doctors around the country.
2018-02-26 09:38:19 6 months ago