“There is a recognized shortage of general and specialized medical doctors in Zambia and sub-Saharan African countries […] Continued training in the field of gastroenterology in Zambia and other resource-limited areas is necessary to enhance understanding of pathophysiology and management, thus improving overall medical care.”
Aim: To evaluate need for and efficacy of a structured gastroenterology didactic session in expanding awareness and understanding of digestive disorders.
Methods: A four-day symposium was developed with didactic sessions (days 1, 2) and practical endoscopy (days 3, 4). Didactic sessions included case presentations highlighting pathophysiology and management. One nurse and four practicing gastroenterologists from the United Kingdom led lectures and supervised workshops with audience participation. Practical endoscopy focused on diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and their application to diagnosis and treatment of ailments of the GI tract. Pre- and post-workshop questionnaires were administered to assess efficacy of each session, quality of case presentations, knowledge, charity, and mode of presentation.
Results: There were 46 attendees on day 1. Primary pre-workshop symposium expectation was to gain knowledge in: general gastroenterology (55.5%), practical endoscopy (13.8%), pediatric gastroenterology (5%), epidemiology of gastrointestinal disorders specific to Zambia (6%), and interaction with international speakers (6%). The post-symposium questionnaire was answered by 19 participants, of whom 95% felt specific aims were met; all would attend future conferences and recommend to others.
Conclusion: The beneficial effect of a structured symposium in developing countries warrants further attention as a mechanism to improve diseases awareness in areas where resources are limited.