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Has the middle-level anaesthesia manpower training program of the West African College of Surgeons fulfilled its objectives?

West African College of Surgeons, Lagos, Nigeria


An audit of the West African College of Surgeons’ middle-level Diploma in Anaesthesia program was carried out to determine the current status of the diplomates. Using the West African College of Surgeons’ database, social media and personal communications, the current status of Diploma in Anaesthesia graduates spanning 20 years was determined.
A total of 303 (97%) out of 311 of graduates were traced. Eighty percent were still practising anaesthesia, while 5% were now in other disciplines. Two hundred and four (67.3%) still resided in West Africa (183 in Nigeria, 50 in Ghana, one in Sierra Leone), while 69 (22.7%) were abroad: 35 (11.5%) in the United Kingdom, 21 (6.9%) in the United States of America and four (1.3%) in Canada. More Ghanaian than Nigerian graduates had emigrated (41 vs 14%, respectively). Only 9% of diplomates remained in rural communities (as originally envisaged), while 31% were now consultants (as fellows) and 30% were registrars in fellowship training.
These findings indicate that most diplomates moved on to acquire further qualifications and a significant proportion migrated. The program did not appear to have achieved the objectives of meeting rural middle-level manpower needs in anaesthesia as envisaged. It has, however, boosted the recruitment drive for residency training in anaesthesia. Perhaps a less migrant cadre such as nurses may better serve this function if recruited into a suitably designed training program in countries desiring to use middle-level manpower in anaesthesia.

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