Building emergency care in Africa, with Gabin Mbanjumucyo

Building emergency care in Africa, with Gabin Mbanjumucyo

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Guest post by Stevan Bruijns from AfJEM Blog

​I caught up with Dr Gabin Mbanjumucyo who will be presenting a keynote at the Emergency Medicine Society of South Africa’s annual meeting in October 2017. Gabin is a senior resident in inaugural class of emergency medicine in Rwanda at the University of Rwanda. He is also currently the president of Rwanda Emergency Care Association. His main interests include point of care ultrasound and research.
I asked Gabin a few questions about his upcoming keynote.

What are the key messages from your talk?

Emergency medicine is much needed in Africa; now is the time to start building strong emergency care systems. Emergency medicine as a specialty is still in its infancy in Africa; less than ten countries have dedicated emergency medicine training programmes (out of 52 countries on the continent). And yet, emergency medicine has been shown to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality (I shall present some data to support this during my keynote). So I guess the key message of my talk will be around the importance of building strong emergency care systems locally.  I’ll also and share some anecdotes from my experience from the Rwanda specialist training programme.

Why is this message important? 

When one considers global data in terms of mortality, life expectancy, disability adjusted life years and the likes, Africa appears to be doing rather badly. As the continent continues to develop, it is projected to see an increase in non-communicable disease, injury and bigger disasters in future. In order to effectively manage all of these, strong emergency care systems will be needed. There is never a right time to start preparing for these challenges. I sincerely hope that I am on the same page on this with everyone else.

How does this message relate to African emergency care?

It is not my intention to undermine the efforts that have been put into improving health care in Africa to date. However, it is important to realise that most of these efforts have been implemented with reference to prior situations that we faced as a continent (such as communicable diseases like HIV and tuberculosis amongst others). Now that urbanisation is on the increase, other diseases (such as non-communicable diseases and injury) have started to rise.  All of these, whether communicable, non-communicable or injury, need strong emergency care systems to manage its acute care requirements more effectively. However, when one considers the emergency medicine, emergency nursing or out-of-hospital emergency care programmes currently run in Africa, we still lack sufficiently trained personnel to handle this burden. Stronger and sustainable emergency care systems are required to address this definitively.
For my keynote, I will be touching on my views on this topic and share anecdotes from my own experience from Rwanda in establishing emergency medicine there.

Join us for the whole conference next week or just come for the day. Details at
Follow Gabin on twitter: @mgabin5

by Stevan Bruijns (ed)