The training was held at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul.
The West African College of Surgeons is primarily focused on the accreditation of training institutions for trainees in all the surgical disciplines in the West Africa sub-region.
The college also conducts examinations for and certifies specialists in all branches of surgery including Anesthesia, Dental Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Oto Rhino Laryngology, Radiology and Surgery (including the various sub-specialties).
The training programmes run by the college include prevention, treatment and control of cancer in all these disciplines, which covers all parts of the human anatomy.
Speaking at the training, Professor Ousman Nyan, chief medical director of EFSTH, said the course is geared towards ensuring competent surgeons who can do operations in a very standard way in the surgical profession globally.
He added that the whole purpose of the training is to ensure that young doctors who are to be trained as surgeons hone the skills of the trade in a standard manner so that they can practice surgery safely anywhere.
Professor Nyan highlighted the significance of having the training in The Gambia. He added that the training will equip the doctors with the requisite skills to do operation in a standard way.
He said there are other theoretical aspects that have to be learned within three to four years before they do the membership exams. “There is another two to three years that they have to do to become fellows of the West African College of surgeons,” he said.
Prof Nyan said this is to make sure that doctors don’t learn to do something quickly which is the wrong way and grow up with it, adding that it is why everything is standardised to make sure surgery in the UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal or in The Gambia is done in the standard way.
He noted that sometimes you find an easy way of learning something without knowing that you are doing it in the wrong way.
Dr. Kebba Marena, head of the Department of Surgery at EFSTH, said the recently started residency training programme for doctors in The Gambia to become surgeons is very critical.
He said the training is coordinated by the West African College of Surgeons, a body that looks after West Africa. Dr. Marena highlighted the importance of having the training in The Gambia, adding that it would go a long way in helping both the trainers and the trainees in doing their work effectively.
“One of the requirements for the surgical doctors to move onto the next stage is that they have to undergo basic surgical skills course exam,” Dr Kebba Marena said.
Dr. Abdoulie Bah, third year resident in the development of surgery, said this is the first of its kind; to have a basic surgical training course for postgraduate training.
“We are lucky to be part of the first batch of Gambians who have been trained in The Gambia in postgraduate studies,” Dr. Abdoulie Bah said.
He added that the training is of paramount importance as every surgical trainee needs to undergo the training course before completing their programmes.