Since its launch in 2018, the South Africa SAFE Paediatrics programme has provided practical anaesthesia training to over 170 anaesthesia professionals across six tailored courses. Course leader, Dr Ann Lee Clover outlines the genesis and impact of SAFE in South Africa.
I first heard about SAFE Paeds while working with Isabeau Walker at London’s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in 2014 / 2015. My first thought was “Wow! This is exactly the course we need to be teaching in South Africa!” My second thought was “ok, so how do we make this happen?”
My first exposure to the course was in Malawi in September 2016, where back to back SAFE Paeds courses and a Training of Trainers were held. The week made me even more convinced that SAFE Paeds was the right course for South African anaesthesia providers. The faculty on the course were supportive and offered to help in any way they could.
With the support of WFSA and the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists: SASA, we applied for and managed to secure grant funding through THET. Between June 2018 and February 2020, with the support of international SAFE faculty and through mentoring our own trainers, we ran six courses training 170 anaesthesia providers around the country, with excellent feedback. Sadly the Covid pandemic has had us on pause since then, but we’ll resume teaching as soon as we can.
As much as our goal is to teach and train, I find myself learning something new with every course – whether it’s from other trainers or from delegates. Hearing about people’s experiences and the challenges they face in the provision of safe care to children has been both humbling and made us even more motivated to keep working to make things safer.
Dr Ann Lee Clover, Paediatric Anaesthesiologist, South Africa