The Bangui project run by Humanitas University is now in its third year
Now in its third year, the Bangui project, in the capital of the Central African Republic, is proceeding rapidly. The project is carried out by Humanitas University with the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome. “The academic year is going well, and between May and June the pediatric trainees will finish their exams,” says Dr Maria Grazia Bordoni head of Vascular Surgery II at Humanitas and coordinator of the project. In a country like Bangui, where the war has emptied the universities and further impoverished the health sector, the project’s aim is medical training for doctors, first with courses for medical students and then with the Specialization school for Pediatrics.
However, despite the legacies of the conflict and the pandemic, the Bangui project has many new features for 2021, the most important of which is the scholarship that Humanitas University awarded to a young Central African doctor, who now has the opportunity to specialize abroad, since there are only a few other specialization schools besides Pediatrics in the Central African Republic. “The student left for Dakar, Senegal, where he started his training in the Specialization School. He is very enthusiastic, is doing well and is having a very important experience, at the end of which he will return to Bangui as a Pediatric surgeon” explains Dr Bordoni.
Like the rest of the world, the project had to face the challenges imposed by the pandemic, including medical training. “During this pandemic year we had to recognize that the easiest educational system is through a computer platform. Together with our colleagues in Rome and Bangui, we are developing an effective training system to overcome the problem of not being able to go directly to Bangui for lessons and the unstable internet connection there,” Bordoni explains. In this regard, some professors of Humanitas University have offered to create informative `pills´ for doctors and students in Bangui: “There are many topics addressed, for example how to set up an operating field, how to manage a polytrauma and, more simply, how to wash hands properly.
Throughout the year, several Italian students asked to join the project. “We were delighted to see their interest” says Bordoni. “In addition, the students asked to have one-to-one contact with their colleagues in Bangui, in order to share experiences about their academic career. Students in Bangui were also enthusiastic about this and immediately set to work to establish contact with the students. About 20 university students are involved here in Milan, while there are about 100 from Bangui, attending the final years of their degree course in Medicine, plus another 40 students from the Specialization school.
This initiative also aims to raise awareness, amongst Humanitas students, about topics that are common in Bangui but extremely rare in Italy: “This is why we have involved the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Bangui to ask him about the possibility of organizing, for example, a small seminar on malaria for students in Milan. At the same time we are putting in place a program involving both physiotherapists and nurses from Milan in activities that for this year will take place remotely only and which concern both nursing and rehabilitation. “Rehabilitation, explains Bordoni, “is of particular interest to the Central African Republic because there are very few professionals there.
2021 will also see the continuation of the “teamwork and leadership” course, a project which proved successful in the previous years: the aim is to involve professionals of the Bangui Pediatric Centre, both doctors and nurses, to help improve their working habits at the hospital. “Again, the challenge is to implement it remotely”.