The goals of the course were to:
- Understand the principles of acute care for the facial trauma patient;
- Understand the principles of orbital injury and sight preservation in the facial trauma patient;
- Address soft tissue defects and soft tissue reconstructive principles; and
- Address these issues in a low-resource environment with limited supplies.
The course was chaired by Travis Tollefson and David Shaye, both American maxillofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, who serve as AO Alliance faculty. Shaye is based in Boston at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear hospital and is also a Harvard Medical School instructor. He spends four months per year teaching and practicing abroad, through Harvard’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change. His work in building surgical capacity for facial trauma is also supported through an AO Alliance grant. Tollefson is a professor and director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at UC Davis.
With only two maxillofacial trauma surgeons for a population of 13 million, facial trauma care in Rwanda faces many challenges, such as scarce medical resources, and a limited surgical workforce. As the course attracted participants from all over the country, they will be able to bring back their newly acquired knowledge and skills to their respective regions and make a significant contribution to improving care of the injured in Rwanda.