In response to this identified need, BVGH and ASCP collaborated with the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) in Zaria, Nigeria to design an innovative training course for pathologists across Nigeria. The curriculum for this course was developed in consultation with Professor Yawale Iliyasu at ABUTH to reflect the realities and serve the needs of the many pathologists practicing in Nigeria. BVGH, ASCP, and ABUTH opted for a virtual training format, which would open this learning opportunity to participants from across Nigeria, especially in light of travel restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The virtual training program has been a boon for my institution, where we diagnose more than 1,800 cancer patients each year. The training course will enable my colleagues and me to correctly diagnose difficult cancer cases, thereby ensuring those patients are offered the most appropriate treatment option." – Professor Yawale Iliyasu of ABUTH
A Novel Approach
The Nigeria Virtual Pathology Course was taught by leading cancer pathology experts over weekly video webinars. The novel virtual format allowed Nigerian pathologists across experience levels and regions to participate in the multi-week course, a feat not possible with an in-person workshop. In total, 85 participants from 35 hospitals across Nigeria participated in the training program.
Course participants' home institutions in Nigeria
The course covered 12 topics prioritized by Nigerian pathologists and oncologists – and illuminated in the AAI Hospital Needs Assessment data – relevant to the diagnostic pathology of cancer, including histopathology of common cancers, immunohistochemistry for advanced diagnosis, and synoptic reporting. Eight expert trainers from elite American institutions delivered lectures that were recorded and then posted online, so participants could watch the lectures live or at their leisure. Participants completed internet-based homework assignments and knowledge assessments to gauge their knowledge before and after the sessions.
Based on the interests and needs expressed by the course participants, BVGH and ASCP held one webinar focused on business and fiscal planning for the laboratory – skills that are not typically taught during medical training but that are critical for increasing access to and affordability of laboratory services for patients. The content taught in this session aligns with BVGH and ASCP’s ongoing efforts to assist African laboratories in improving their operations, services, and efficiencies.