received amazing training in the US and I was honored to be able to be of service in Africa. However, what works in the US doesn’t always work in Africa! US training assumes that we've got a whole team of people around us, a fully staffed hospital and everything we need. I often used the analogy of being on the top of a mountain. It is an amazing view up there! But if you don’t think about it, you can take it for granted that the view is normal. You can forget about the tons of earth beneath you that lets you have that view. There are so many parts of the medical mountain that don’t exist in developing countries. They just don’t have it. So, you won’t have the same view, and there are reasons for it. Is important to adapt what we know so that it works with the available resources. This can be very challenging!
And by resources, I don't just mean stuff – it’s also the support. Most of the PAACS graduates are going to be the only surgeon in their whole area. There is no one else; no one to take calls at night so they can have a break; no one to cover the work when they need to get away on vacation. Helping them figure out how they're going to last the long haul without burning out is critical.