“There are not enough trauma and orthopedic (T&O) surgeons in Gabon. Road traffic accidents constitute one of the leading causes of injury here and a great challenge we face is the lack of specialized training for general doctors and paramedic personnel to deal with injured patients,”says Dr Léandre Nguiabanda,
member of the AO Alliance faculty network and T&O surgeon at the Army Teaching Hospital in Gabon. Léandre, who completed his medical training in France and Belgium, returned to Gabon to make a difference in his country.
In 2012, as part of the AO Socio Economic Committee (AO SEC), Léandre along with Prof. Sylvain Terver and Dr Florent Anicet Lekina (Steering Committee Chair, French-speaking Africa ”“ FSA), began laying the foundations for what would later become the AO Alliance (AOA) presence in francophone Africa. When AO Alliance took over the activities of AO SEC in 2015, Léandre took on the role of faculty, training healthcare workers in Gabon and in FSA countries.
Today, he wears many hats in addition to his primary role as a surgeon: sitting on the Steering Committee for the Fracture Solutions Project in FSA; National Course Chair, organizing educational events in Gabon; Regional Faculty, teaching in other francophone countries; and last but not least he is the FSA Coordinator for Fellowships, a role that enables him to mentor and supervise international T&O fellows in his hospital. Always seeking to improve his skills, Léandre participated in the Coaching Program at the AO Davos Courses in 2019. “With AO Alliance I found the opportunity to share with paramedic personnel and doctors parts of my job to help avoid delays in appropriate patient care and show them what they can do. It is fundamental,” he says.
Although social welfare was instituted in 2009 and access to health care is open to all patients, healthcare professionals are not always aware of available treatments and often times trauma patients do not receive appropriate care soon enough after an injury. “One of the impacts that we get to see through AOA activities is that healthcare workers see this specialty exists and treatments are available,” concludes Léandre.