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The local surgery app that could help save lives in Africa

14/03/2017

The local surgery app that could help save lives in AfricaIt is hoped that a new mobile app developed in Canada could help treat millions of patients in Africa.

MOST, or mobile optimised skill training, is an application that can be accessed on a tablet or smartphone which helps accelerate the number of healthcare workers that can be taught essential surgical skills.

The brainchild of Vancouver-based surgeon and UBC surgical professor Dr. Ronald Lett, MOST was brought to life by Surrey, B.C. tech company Conquer Mobile and will be provided by the Canadian Network for International Surgery (CNIS) for free.

Unlike existing face-to-face courses, which are usually taught by doctors visiting Africa to limited groups, MOST will facilitate the sharing of skills in the community long after visiting teams have left. 

At present, there are 5 mobile training courses available in MOST, but another 7 are planned for the future. The new technology will be used to train 25,000 African healthcare workers and treat 2 million patients over the next 3 years.

[caption id="attachment_3741" align="alignnone" width="620"]dr-ronald-lett Dr. Ronald Lett has been teaching surgical skills to healthcare workers in Sub-Saharan Africa for 22 years. (Image credit: Ronald Lett)[/caption]

 

"The problem is there is a huge demand for surgical education, limited funding, and therefore we feel that we can optimize training, by having it available using newer technology," said Lett.

African healthcare workers will be able to download the app onto their smartphone or tablet and go through the academic knowledge part using games and skills questions. There will also be avatars which react and provide feedback as though the individual were practising on a real life patient.

Today, women in Africa are 10 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in the Americas. Furthermore, 13% of Africans will die as a result of an injury.

The MOST app will be tested by CNIS in Ethiopia and Rwanda this spring or early summer.
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