Prof Samba Koné on fracture care and the AO Alliance in Ivory Coast

In 2013, Samba Koné became involved with the AO Socio-Economic Committee, whose activities were later taken over and expanded by the AO Alliance. Only one continuing medical education course on fracture care was being held annually in Ivory Coast. With the advent of the AO Alliance, two courses were organized annually: one for surgeons and one for operating room personnel (ORP), through the Fracture Solutions Program.

A collaboration agreement between the AO Alliance and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation in 2019 launched the creation of the three-year West Africa Trauma Education Program, which aims to improve the quality and access to fracture care in West Africa. As part of this program, one additional course per year has been added for Ivory Coast. “This allows us to organize one nonoperative and two operative courses on fracture management. We can then alternate and do one for surgeons and one for ORPs, so it is very helpful,” says Koné. “The impact is noticeable. Participants are motivated and ask for more training opportunities. The image of the AO Alliance shines across the country, and we hear a lot about it at the medical schools and residency training programs.”

For Koné, one of the main challenges relating to the burden of injury in the country is the effects of climate change, causing the rainy season to last longer and provoking floods, landslides and houses to collapse”“all leading to more injuries.

The primary challenge is the time delay between the injury and the patient reaching a healthcare facility. “Patients come six to eight hours after the incident, if they are in the capital, Abidjan. But for those coming from inland, it’s complicated. Open fractures are tricky due to the risk of infection and even more so when patients come long after the injury. This is what makes the nonoperative courses so crucial. Properly trained healthcare workers outside of Abidjan are better equipped to prepare patients for transfer in a safer and more effective way,” concludes Koné.

Prof Samba Koné is an orthopedic surgeon at the Cocody University Hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and national course chair for the AO Alliance.

left to right: Rolf M Jeker, Manjul Joshipura, Jim Harrison, and Samba Koné, April 2017.