BC Innovation Saving Lives in Africa with Mobile Surgical Skills Training

Vancouver non-profit CNIS and Conquer Mobile collaborate to reduce maternal and injury mortality rates by teaching surgical skills to African healthcare workers. CNIS will use mobile training to scale surgical skills training by a factor of 10 and train 25,000 African healthcare workers in the next 3 years.

Canadian Network for International Surgery (CNIS) and Conquer Mobile announce that they are collaborating on innovative education technology that will reduce injury mortality rates in Africa by teaching surgical skills to African healthcare workers. Using mobile skills training, CNIS will scale up training by a factor of 10, with a goal of treating 2 million patients in the next 3 years. The project will be showcased at the BC Tech Summit at the Vancouver Convention Centre March 14-15.

Project MOST

The CNIS Mobile Optimized Skills Training (MOST) project uses mobile surgical skills training to accelerate the number of African healthcare workers that can be taught essential surgical skills. The solution uses avatars and case-based skills training to provide a pragmatic, active learning experience.

The Social Challenge: Reduce Maternal and Injury Mortality Rates in Africa

Women in Africa are 10 times more likely to die in childbirth than women in the Americas. 13% of Africans will die from an injury. CNIS’ goal is to reduce the maternal and injury mortality rates for people in Africa, where there are simply not enough skilled healthcare workers.

The Innovative Technology: Mobile Surgical Skills Training

The CNIS Mobile Optimized Skills Training (MOST) project uses mobile surgical skills training to accelerate the number of healthcare workers that can be taught essential surgical skills. Unlike existing face-to-face courses which are taught by visiting doctors to a limited group, MOST will enable skill sharing in the community long after visiting teams have left. Project Video

The Social Impact: Train 25,000 African healthcare workers, Treat 2 million patients

Over the past 20 years, CNIS has trained 150 Canadian medical professionals, 750 African course instructors and 25,000 African healthcare workers. With Project MOST, CNIS will accelerate this by a factor of 10. With 5 mobile courses, CNIS will train 25,000 African healthcare workers in the next 3 years and treat 2 Million patients.

“Right now, we visit communities in Africa and teach surgical skills face to face,” explained Dr. Ronald Lett, founder of CNIS and surgeon at Surrey Memorial Hospital. “Using mobile training, we will not only teach ten times more people, but they can also be learning essential skills before we visit and sharing skills long after we are gone. It’s about repetition, reinforcement and reach.”

“We are excited to be part of a project that will literally save lives,” remarked Kathy O’Donoghue, Managing Director of Conquer Mobile. “The whole company is inspired by such tangible goals and the potentially huge social impact. The first version will be used in trials in Ethiopia in April. It is a very exciting milestone for all of us.”

Project to be featured at BC Tech Summit

For the local BC Technology community, the collaboration between a local nonprofit and a local software company is a showcase example of using local BC innovation to make a global social impact. The project will be presented at the BC Tech Summit, taking place March 14-15 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, in the “Where in the World is our #BCTECH?” stream.

Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard makes collaboration easier

For Dr Ronald Lett and the team at Conquer Mobile, being neighbours in Surrey makes collaboration much easier. Dr Lett operates at Surrey Memorial Hospital, adjacent to Conquer Mobile’s offices in the Health Tech Innovation Hub in Surrey’s Health and Technology District on Innovation Boulevard. “I have a very busy schedule and cases can often run longer than expected,” commented Dr Lett. “When the latest version of the software is ready for review, I can simply walk across the street and meet with the team.”