My Experience of the EADP-CASIEF Fellowship in Ethiopia
Working for CASIEF-EADP at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa has been one of the most fulfilling challenges of my career to date. I decided to take up this post as an OOPTE primarily to develop my skills in education and as an opportunity to gain some experience of international development in healthcare. I also found the idea of living in Ethiopia a fascinating idea and ultimately an experience that would not disappoint!
Having relatively little experience in teaching or working abroad, I was quite apprehensive about how I would integrate in to the program. However, I was quickly reassured to find that even the basic skills and experience I had previously acquired from my own training were extremely transferable when providing education for most of the local anaesthesiology residents. Undoubtably, I did find that there were many personal and professional challenges to overcome during this fellowship. However, I was greatly motivated by the rapport which I was able to build with the residents and pleased to have been able to support them by delivering regular face to face teaching, including simulation-based learning, as well as other topics to meet their learning needs.
The role is focused on education and I enjoyed developing a program for the residents in collaboration with the AAU and CASIEF-EADP. Although there is little scope to practice clinical medicine during the fellowship, my input as a senior was always welcomed in the Operating Rooms and ICU, which often provided interesting learning opportunities for both myself and the residents.
During the fellowship CASIEF invited me to Jimma in order to learn how to deliver the Vital Anaesthesia Simulation Training (VAST) course by enrolling as a candidate on the facilitator course; subsequently delivering the VAST course itself -in collaboration with local doctors from the Jimma University Hospital. In addition, the CASIEF-EADP partnership has plans to expand by involving residents enrolled in Haramaya University Hospital. I therefore spent a short period of time in the city of Harar. Apart from being an utterly fascinating place to visit, my colleague and I were able to meet the local team of anaesthesiologists, who will be involved in a future VAST course there, and deliver some teaching material which we had developed in Addis Ababa.
For the most part I was based in Addis Ababa, where CASIEF provided a very pleasant and safe apartment in the centre of the city. I thoroughly enjoyed life in Addis, making as much of the weekends and time off as possible. Within the city there are plenty of museums, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and nightlife, as well as cultural attractions unique to Ethiopia and Africa -such as Ethio-Jazz and a variety of art and documentary film exhibitions. It was also very easy to make friends from a variety of backgrounds with whom I met regularly and travelled to other regions of the country. Overall, I found this to be a humbling experience. I have developed many inter-professional skills including leadership and change management and have gained huge cultural and social experiences from being immersed in a foreign country for six months.
If you’ve been inspired by Chris’s journey and are eager to make a difference in global health, we encourage you to explore opportunities with us. This could be as an in-country fellow like Chris, or as part of the remote teaching team. Your skills and passion can contribute to improving healthcare education in Ethiopia and be a transformative experience for yourself. Read our EADP webpage for more information.