ESPGHAN Goes Africa - October 2014

The second week of "ESPGHAN goes Africa" in Cape Town from October 4 -10,  2014 at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) of the University of Stellenbosch in Stellenbosch.

For the October meeting 8 participants out of the 30 participants of the first week in March were not able to attend. 4 from Nigeria and 1 from Liberia were not allowed to enter South Africa due to the Ebola epidemic in their countries, 2 participants could not attend because of pregnancy and difficulties to leave work. In order to make it possible for these 8 participants to complete the course and get their diplomas we decided to invite them again next March 2015. The content of the programs of the next course 2015 are therefore changed from October to March, which enables them to complete the course.

As during the first week of the course in March, the participants apart from the lectures of the faculty had to present 1-2 cases from their own hospitals. This has been shown as in the previous courses to be very important in stimulating intense discussions and interactions among participants together with the faculty.

The teaching was provided by 7 faculty members from ESPGHAN (Berthold Koletzko, Anil Dhawan, Ferdinand Haschke, Michael Lentze, Alexandra Papadopoulos, Raanan Shamir and Jan Taminiau), 6 faculty members from and Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town (Liz Goddard, Robert Brown, Louise Cook, Ronalda de Lacy, Etienne Nel, Tracy Kilborn) and 1 member of NNI (Natalia Wagemans). Natalia Wagemans was responsible for the E-learning modules of the participants.

Apart from case demonstrations and lectures one morning was devoted to practical learning like how to use an endoscope and how to perfume a liver biopsy. The appropriate instruments and liver biopsy needles have provided. Endoscopies (gastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy) were simulated on dummies.

As far as judgement about the importance of our courses is concerned it is worth mentioning that in the meantime 3 cases of coeliac disease have been diagnosed in black children by our participants, 1 child with CF from Ghana and 1 black child with Crohn’s disease were presented as a case report in the current course.

The evaluation of the teachers by the participants was assessed after each lecture by standard evaluation forms in both weeks. The results are expressed as averages of their grading ( 0 = unacceptably poor and 10 = cannot be improved) The evaluations of both weeks are attached.  All teachers were rated very highly. 

After completion of the first week of the course the participants had to fulfil a complete course on infant’s nutrition by E-learning through the internet. This course consists of several modules, for which an examination needed to be passed for each module in order to meet the requirements of the final diploma after the second week in October 2014. With the help of Natalia Wagemans from NNI, the majority of participants had completed the modules of that e-learning. The rest of the participants, who had not yet completed the program have to complete it until December 13th of this year. Without completion of the program they will not get their University Diploma. 

The E-Learning program for nutrition is based on the book 'Paediatric Nutrition in Practice' edited by Bertold Koletzko et al.

At the end of the last teaching day all participants had to go through a multiple choice test comprising of 55 questions to be answered in 60 minutes as a requirement for the diploma of the Stellenbosch University. 

Before starting the course in March we had more than 90 applicants. The large number of applications this year demonstrates that this course has gained a considerable interest in Africa. After having completed the third course in October 2014, this very important and successful ESPGHAN activity will have educated about 90 colleagues from various African countries.

A network among all participants of the first 2 courses has come into action this year. They have started to exchange clinical cases among them by using a gougle-group: espghan—class—of They also have started a “Whatsup Activity” and “Facebook” activities.

After completion the forth course in 2015 we will have educated a group of 120 -130 African colleagues. Than we have reached our initial goal to have a critical mass of alumni to create an African Working group of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition under the guidance of ESPGHAN. Some of the participants of the last 3 courses became training members of ESPGHAN.