Workshop topics

Virtual Workshop Based on Ultrasound Skills: An African Experience in the Age of COVID

This article was originally published here

Afr J Emerg Med. Mar 2022; 12 (1): 30-33. doi: 10.1016 / j.afjem.2021.10.004. Online publication of December 28, 2021.


Telemedicine has become more than ever a valuable tool for medical education. This involves the digital exchange of health care or health care information over great distances. This form of education has become more common due to significant advances in communication technologies and increased access to the Internet at more affordable costs. Isolated and poorly staffed areas can now access specialist testing, mentoring, educational materials and general support more effectively than ever before. Typically, telemedicine is used to deliver educational sessions and lectures, not skill sharing or training exercises. Although ultrasound is a skill typically taught at the bedside, we are facing a global pandemic where patient safety and standard operating procedures are prohibitive for this teaching model. Our team sought to organize a hands-on session to determine whether practical skills can be taught via virtual training workshops to alleviate these constraints. Practical stations have been set up, with each station hosting an independent competence. The objective of the session was to present the topics to the learners, to make them visualize how the scans can be carried out with a local configuration and finally to perform these scans on volunteers to the satisfaction of the supervisors. Skills such as ocular ultrasound, gallbladder assessment, and aortic aneurysm assessment were performed on volunteers under the guidance of a virtual supervisor at all stations. Topics were chosen on the basis of a previous needs assessment, and participants expressed great satisfaction with the session. Ultrasound provides an excellent opportunity for skills-based virtual training, mentoring, and trainee support. This commentary is primarily addressed to low-resource African countries with nascent emergency medicine programs. This also applies to organizations that support distance education in ultrasound for emergency care providers and those that run emergency care awareness programs. These principles can also be applied to other low-resource environments outside of Africa.

IDPM: 35004138 | PMC: PMC8718738 | DOI: 10.1016 / j.afjem.2021.10.004