Prof. Mark Eidelman, director of the pediatric orthopedics unit at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, second from the left, with African colleagues at the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa. (photo from Rambam Medical Centre)
Dozens of doctors from Ethiopia and neighbouring countries recently participated in a practical course, the first of its kind, which trained them to fix pediatric orthopedic deformities. The course, held for the first time in Africa, was led by Prof. Mark Eidelman, director of the pediatric orthopedics unit at Rambam’s Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital.
Fifty doctors participated in the four-day course. Some of them had already completed their internships, while others were still interns. They attended lectures about different treatment types, attended workshops and participated in surgeries. The Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, hosted the course, which was sponsored by CURE International. CURE is a nonprofit organization that assists children in developing countries suffering from medical issues, in cooperation with POSNA, the Pediatric Orthopedics Society of North America.
The Ethiopian hospital’s pediatric orthopedic services are directed by two doctors from England who relocated to Ethiopia several years ago. The doctors created the course in order to give treatment tools to local medical teams dealing with one of the most common problems in the country.
“Against the backdrop of genetic diseases and problems, and especially since there is a great lack of knowledge, infrastructure and treatment capabilities with regard to pediatric orthopedic deformities, there are many people in Ethiopia with problems that are taken care of in other countries at much earlier stages,” said Eidelman. “In Israel, like in many other Western countries, they know how to diagnose problems … and treat them in a timely manner. This helps these patients to enjoy a higher quality of life and prevent their conditions from deteriorating. Now, for dozens of local doctors, there are tools and knowledge to help their patients.”
Joining Eidelman on this recent mission were two doctors from the United States: one who was Eidelman’s teacher, Prof. John Herzenberg, a senior doctor in the field from Baltimore; and Prof. Christof Radler, who is also renowned in his field.
According to Eidelman, the main problem in training African doctors is the difficulty of traveling to the United States to receive training there. “The institutions in Baltimore are considered the best in the field in terms of training and teaching, and the city hosts the leading conferences and courses,” he said. “Unfortunately, most of these doctors don’t manage to secure entry visas for the U.S. and, as such, are denied access to this information. This is the reason why we decided to bring the training to them. At the end of a successful course, we decided to continue with this initiative and, in the near future, I’m supposed to return to Ethiopia in order to train additional doctors.”