The 2nd International Congress on Innovations in Global Surgery (ICIGS)

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08 May 2023

In April 2023, a truly international and multidisciplinary group of global healthcare champions gathered in Mombasa, Kenya, with one aim, to improve access to safe surgery for all, regardless of location. This International Congress is the vision of the Innovations in Global Surgery (IGS) group, which brought together over 250 clinicians, engineers, biomedical engineers, software programmers, and other professionals from over 25 countries. This year’s conference theme was ‘Translating Innovations’ to promote interdisciplinary collaboration in Innovations in Global Surgery and promote safe access to surgical, obstetric, trauma and anaesthesia (SOTA) care in rural settings of Sub-Saharan Africa.

‘Innovation to alleviate poverty was the main reason for ICIGS 2023’ - Professor Pankaj Jani - Chair ICIGS 2023 - Kenya.

The event included presentations, workshops, and discussions facilitating cross-disciplinary learning, innovation, and partnerships. There was representation from 9 African countries, which includes 11 out of 14 COSECSA regions. In collaboration with the Surgical Society of Kenya, the conference also saw healthcare professionals from 18 Kenyan hospitals. The RCSEd were delighted to be a platinum sponsor of this event, spearheading its ongoing commitment to drive surgical innovations in global surgery. Several students and trainees from African nations and the UK actively participated in the congress, creating networking opportunities and cross-pollinating ideas.

The delegates' passion and energy were evident, with everyone dedicated to supporting safe and sustainable access to surgery. The conference was a resounding success, and the organisers, speakers, and delegates demonstrated hard work and commitment, paving the way for better, more accessible, and safer surgical care for all. The conference and related initiatives demonstrate that small steps can make a significant impact.

‘There is a need to take this collaboration to the next level by building a nurturing support system for innovators from low and middle-income countries’ - Dr Deepa Kizhakke Veetil - ICIGS Core Committee.

Day 1 of the Congress demonstrated several remarkable innovations, ranging from Gasless Laparoscopy, Wide Awake Local Anaesthesia No Tourniquet (WALANT), Virtual Reality in Medicine (VRIMS), Laptop cystoscopy, Flexible Endoscopy and innovations in minimal access surgery. Experienced faculty members included biomedical engineers from Kenyatta University, The Netherlands, UK and surgeons from India, USA, Canada, France, and Malaysia.

Day 2 created an opportunity for having in-depth, interactive panel discussions on essential components of surgical innovation, the role of technology in increasing the specialist workforce, the role of technology in health systems and improving access to biomedical engineering in the LMIC setting.  The first AI-assisted global surgery hackathon workshop was delivered successfully, producing several new ideas to support innovative approaches in technology-enhanced learning in global surgical care. Leaders and researchers in global health from Kenya, South Africa, Europe, North America, and Canada were able to share innovative research findings and discuss evidence-based approaches tailored to enhance surgical care access in resource-constrained settings.

'The conference and related initiatives demonstrate that working in a collaborative multidisciplinary team can create a platform to integrate ideas, promote diversity and significantly accelerate the process of translating innovation from the lab to end users and patients' - Mr Noel Aruparayil - ICIGS Executive Committee and Scientific lead ICIGS 2023

As part of the conference, the organisers are conducting a cross-sectional survey to identify the unmet needs of surgical care providers and develop innovative healthcare solutions. The survey is open to all and can be accessed here.


RCSEd’s Role in Global Surgery

The College has several activities demonstrating its unwavering commitment to developing global surgery and global health. The Global Surgery Foundation (GSF) aims to establish sustainable surgical capacity in communities suffering from a chronic shortage of care. To achieve this, partnerships are formed to ensure that regional knowledge, expertise, and resources are available to ensure that projects have a long-term, sustainable, and widespread impact. The next deadline for grant funding applications is August 20, 2023, find out more and apply here. The GSF funding has allowed The Global Anaesthesia, Surgery, and Obstetric Collaboration (GASOC), a trainee-led advocacy group in UK and Ireland, to offer a free online course that covers innovation and research skills for surgeons, doctors, nurses, engineers, health officers, and other healthcare professionals. The course includes eight modules and is designed to be flexible, allowing busy participants from various time zones to learn on demand. Access to the course is available here.

The Faculty of Remote, Rural, and Humanitarian Healthcare (FRRHH) is an interdisciplinary global community of best practices supporting the continued professional development of remote, rural, and humanitarian healthcare professionals. The faculty supports the diverse group of professionals working to support the development of global surgery and global health by facilitating a community of best practices, setting and driving the achievements of standards and recognising the rich depth of skill in this professional community.

RCSEd in collaboration with IGS, is dedicated to supporting the advancement of global surgery and healthcare innovations through various initiatives. It plays a pivotal role in contributing to the worldwide effort to address health disparities by raising awareness, fostering south-south collaboration, and driving innovation in under-resourced regions. By endorsing the creation and implementation of frugal innovative healthcare solutions, healthcare provision can be enhanced, expenses can be lowered, and efficacy can be improved, resulting in better accessibility, sustainability, and affordability of healthcare for all.


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