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First Malawian celebrates success in RCSEd's online MSc in Surgical Sciences

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29 Nov 2013

ESSQgradThe first Malawian to graduate from the RCSEd’s award-winning MSc in Surgical Sciences was in Edinburgh today to collect his Masters Degree Certificate.

Dr Lughano Kalongolera (picture centre) has spent the past three years studying for the Edinburgh Surgical Sciences Qualification (ESSQ), which is run jointly with the University of Edinburgh.

The part-time distance-learning programme began in 2007 and is transforming access to specialist medical knowledge. It now supports more than 250 surgical trainees internationally.

Last week it was announced that the course, as part of a suite of five online courses, had been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for excellence in e-learning. The award is widely regarded as the highest national honour in UK education.

By using virtual patient case-studies for discussion, students learn how to make better clinical decisions. They can discuss patient scenarios with fellow e-learners, while under the guidance of a supervisor based in Edinburgh.

Dr Kalongolera is one of seven Malawian surgical trainees to receive a £9,000 scholarship to cover the cost of his course. Funding has come from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund, with additional support from pharmaceuticals company Johnson & Johnson. This is part of a wider £1.4m partnership, involving the University of Edinburgh  and the Colleges of Medicine, Nurses and Health Sciences in Malawi, which uses e-learning techniques to transform the education and training opportunities for medical staff.

Dr Kalongolera, who is based at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine in Blantyre, said he was keen to improve his skills level so that he could help tackle the many pressing health challenges in his country.

He said: “Most doctors have to travel abroad to acquire such knowledge and many do not return. By studying online with the University of Edinburgh, I have been able to remain in Malawi to learn, while continuing to treat those who need me most.”

Professor James Garden, Programme Director for the MSc in Surgical Sciences and a Council Member of the RCSEd, said that the Masters programme has proven highly successful, and that it has international appeal.

Professor Garden said: “Dr Kalongolera’s graduation today is evidence that the professional and academic development of the surgical trainee can be delivered effectively at a distance. His experience and success underlines the versatility of our award-winning Masters programme in meeting the demands of surgical trainees, no matter where they are based.”



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