The 11th Regional Teaching Course (RTC) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) took place in Accra, Ghana. Dr. A. Charway Felli, President-elect of AFAN hosted the RTC held at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. 80 Residents took part, representing 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The RTC’s overarching theme “Neurology across the lifespan” addressed the following topics: Neuropathies and Myopathies, Neuro-infections, Electro-neurophysiology, Headaches and Cerebral Vascular Diseases. Prof Foad Abd-allah, President of AFAN and WSO delegate illustrated AFAN and WSO involvement in education and the RTC. Prof Riadh Gouider, WFN Trustee, brought wishes of Prof William Carroll, WFN President. Prof Claudio Bassetti, EAN President-elect, confirmed EAN’s commitment to continue its involvement in this educational initiative in SSA. He especially thanked all the scientific societies, including WSO, who made this RTC possible.
The scientific programme started with the topic “Neuropathies and Myopathies” chaired by Prof Erich Schmutzhard, Austria/EAN and Dr. Augustina Charway-Felli, Ghana/AFAN (pictured above in one of the afternoon interactive teaching sessions)/ During the Clinical Grand Round discussion led by Prof Claudio Bassetti and Prof Joanne Wilmshurst, residents presented and discussed their selected cases. The residents were divided into 4 rotating break out groups and the afternoon was dedicated to clinical case discussions brought by the residents and the faculty. Each group addressed one of the four topics of the RTC chaired by the faculty. They would rotate over the four days of the RTC and work on a different topic each day. Each day ended with a multiple choice test on the day’s teaching assessing its benefit.
Was on the theme Neuroinfections. Prof Erich Schmutzhard and Prof Njideka Okubadejo, Nigeria/MDS chaired the session. Ebenezer Badoe, Ghana, and Erich Schmutzhard, EAN, Austria, started the morning with their lectures on „infections of the CNS in SSA children and adolescents“ and „adults and the elderly in SSA“.The most important take home messages were intensely discussed and presented as „easily remembered bullet points“(quote by an Ivorian resident) Njideka Okubadejo, MDS, Nigeria, gave an excellent overview on infectious and para-/post-infectious diseases causing a wide variety of movement disorders. Riadh Gouider, WFN, Tunisia, undertook highly successfully the immense task to give an overview of systemic infections, CNS infections and infectious agents causing ischemic and/or hemorrhagic stroke. The presentation covered meningo-vascular syphilis, acute bacterial meningitis, viral meningo-vasculitis, CNS tuberculosis, fungal and parasitic infections (e.g. neurocysticercosis) up to septic sinus thrombosis and infective endocarditis with septic embolism. During the Clinical Grand Round discussion chaired by Prof Ebenezer Badoe and Prof Joanne Wilmshurst, residents presented and discussed their selected cases.
Addressed “Electro-neurophysiology”. Prof Rufus Akinyemi, Nigeria (representing both IBRO and WSO Education Committee), and Prof Albert Akaplu, Ghana, chaired the morning session. Rufus Akinyemi, IBRO, Nigeria, discussed in his lecture the rapidly growing issue – also and particularly important in the SSA population – of cognitive impairment, various forms of dementias and concentrated mainly on clinical presentations and ancillary tests possible and required in such patients in the SSA context (what can be done – what should be done). Lawrence Tucker, AFAN, South Africa, drew extremely high attention when he presented his lecture on electroencephalography in SSA. Pushpa Narayanaswami, AAN, USA, excited the audience with her lecture on ancillary tests in neuro- and myopathies. Albert Akpalu, Ghana, addressed the issue of spinal cord diseases.
Day three concluded with a 90 minutes „seminar“ on career development. Steven Lewis, WFN, USA, and Pushpa Narayanaswami, AAN, USA, presented in an exciting and enticing way how a SSA resident should and can approach the task of writing an abstract, preparing and submitting a paper and writing up a grant application. All agreed that an academic career – many of the residents are on this track – needs exactly these skills to be pursued successfully. Both lecturers gave a lot of useful advice, pointing to potential pitfalls and encouraging the audience not to give up after one - or even several - rejections.
Covered headaches and cerebral vascular diseases. Prof Lawrence Tucker and Prof Ebenezer Badoe chaired the session. Ebenezer Badoe, Ghana and David Garcia Azorin, EAN, Spain, gave excellent lectures on primary headaches in SSA children/adolescents and adults, respectively. Foad Abdallah, president of AFAN and WSO represntative, Egypt, undertook the immense task to discuss the issue of acute first ever headache, concentrating on vascular causes. He transported very efficiently his message not to miss such a single case of, e.g. SAH, sentinel headache in SAH, ICH, ischemic stroke or sinus/venous thrombosis. He supplemented his profound lecture with exciting and dramatic cases underlining his message that such secondary headaches / first ever vascular headaches never be missed to avoid catastrophic evolution of the disease. Prof Abd-Allah Foad and Dr. David Garcia Azorin chaired the day four Clinical Grand Rounds.
In all lectures, the video-session, career development session, clinical grand rounds and case presentations the discussion was very vivid indicating both the vast body of knowledge of the faculty, partially also of the participants and - even more – the eagerness and „thirst“ to learn as much as possible in these „precious“ four days (quote by a resident from Ethiopia). Delegates of the supporting scientific societies took part in the RTC’s closing session. All expressed their appreciation of the work done by the residents and fellow faculty members. On behalf of their organisations, they pledged support for future RTCs. Special thanks were given to Dr. Charway Felli for the fine hospitality at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and to Dr Erich Schmutzhard and Mrs Eveline Sipido from EAN for all their work coordinating the event.
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.