The University of Cambridge – Lusaka, Zambia Twinning Program
Kachinga Sichizya1, Laston Chikoya2, David Clark1,3, Brian Sonkwe1, Karol Budohoski3, Rikin Trivedi3
Since summer 2017, there has been a teaching, capacity building and research collaboration between the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom led by Mr Rikin Trivedi (Consultant Neurosurgeon) and the University Teaching Hospital and Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia, led by Dr Kachinga Sichizya (Consultant Neurosurgeon), Dr Laston Chikoya (Consultant Neurosurgeon), Dr Humphrey Kunda (Consultant Neurosurgeon) and Dr Brian Sonkwe (Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon). This collaboration is supported by the National Institute of Health Research Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma (NIHR GHRGN) at the University of Cambridge, as well as Cambridge Global Health Partnerships and the Tropical Health and Education Trust.
In terms of teaching, weekly Wednesday evening teleconferences are conducted in which Zambian neurosurgery residents present interesting cases that set the scene for viva style teaching led by a consultant neurosurgeon. Moreover, the NIHR GHRGN supported 3 first year Zambian neurosurgery residents to visit Cambridge in summer 2019 and attend the ‘Global Neuro’ course. In addition, the collaboration has worked with the Zambian Ministry of Health and other organisations to deliver two national symposia on neurotrauma (January 2019) and stroke (November 2019). Both events offered funded places for Zambians nationwide to attend as well as clinicians from neighbouring countries. The content consisted of a mix of didactic lectures and hands on teaching in the operating theatre and intensive care unit. In the stroke conference, the Vice President of Zambia attended the conference as an honoured guest, highlighting the importance of neurological diseases to the agenda of the Zambian government.
With regards to research, data have so far been collected on the management and outcomes of 679 patients admitted with TBI and 66 patients admitted with traumatic spinal injury. A team consisting of a project co-ordinator, 3 research assistants and a neuropsychologist have been working full time on the study since last year, supported by a UK neurosurgical resident based full time in Lusaka as a clinical research fellow since January 2019.
Finally, the collaboration has arranged the donation of several pieces of neurosurgical equipment to UTH including 2 high speed drills.
Figure. Faculty of the National Zambian Neurotrauma Course, Lusaka, 2019.