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Over the last two years, the COSECSA Oxford Orthopaedic Link (COOL) programme has supported 48 Primary Trauma Care (PTC) training courses in sub-Saharan Africa, run jointly by NHS and local volunteers.

Over the last two years, the COSECSA Oxford Orthopaedic Link (COOL) programme has supported 48 Primary Trauma Care (PTC) training courses in sub-Saharan Africa, run jointly by NHS and local volunteers.

Trauma is one of the leading causes of death and disability for young people in sub-Saharan Africa, and a key challenge in trauma management is the shortage of trained health workers, particularly in rural areas.

COOL’s courses have trained over 1650 new PTC providers (doctors, nurses, and clinical officers) and 450 new PTC instructors across the 10 countries of the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). 

Country representatives from the 10 COSECSA countries met last month to share highlights and challenges from setting up a series of trauma training courses in each country, and to discuss strategies for sustainability. Dr Milliard Derbew, COSECSA Vice-President, thanked the representatives for their commitment to trauma training and expressed COSECSA’s on-going support for the training. [see picture]

Noel Peter, COOL programme researcher and Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, said of the meeting: "It's been wonderful to hear and witness first-hand the impact PTC courses have made to health workers in the region. This is further supported by our own data demonstrating an overall increase in knowledge and clinical confidence of trainees. We are also very encouraged by current efforts by local clinicians to embed trauma training into undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula."

Trauma was the key theme of the annual COSECSA Annual Scientific Conference in Dar es Salaam a week later, where the COOL programme team presented 6 abstracts on the programme’s work to strengthen trauma and musculoskeletal impairment care in the COSECSA region through PTC training and trauma research.

During the conference, Professor Chris Lavy, project director of COOL, organised a symposium on trauma registries for COSECSA members to share data and lessons learned from existing trauma registries in Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Cameroon and Malawi. He encouraged more collaboration on trauma data collection across COSECSA countries, so that the data can be used to improve efficiency and quality of trauma care more widely in the region.

COOL is a partnership between NDORMS and COSECSA to support trauma and orthopaedic research, training and capacity building in sub-Saharan Africa. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development through the Health Partnership Scheme.

Click here for the latest project update.