DigiHEST: How we reached 29 countries in two days

DigiHEST: How we reached 29 countries in two days: The David Nott Foundation recently completed our first digital, live-streamed surgical training course.

In December, we piloted our first ever (DigiHEST) course. We transformed an office space, generously provided by Whitby Wood, into an operating theatre and our friends at Redux Content decked the place out as a recording set.

DigiHEST saw 100+ attendees tuning in from up to 29 countries, including many existing members of the David Nott Foundation family in countries that we have previously delivered courses in. This was perhaps the main benefit of a digital course: whereas before we could take our training to one location at a time, now we could bring it to 29. We welcomed surgeons, students, physicians and guests from Ethiopia to Thailand, from Syria to Nepal, from Somalia to Sri Lanka and more – as the map below shows.

Over the course of a weekend, David Nott was joined by DNF faculty members Ammar Darwish, Rebekka Troller and Pete Mathew to present an ambitious programme of surgical training that was live streamed around the world. Modules covered included abdominal trauma, neurosurgery, maxillofacial surgery, ballistics and more. David was also joined by special guest lecturers Mounir Hakimi (orthopaedics) and Shehan Hettiaratchy (plastics) to form a world-class team of surgical specialists ready to reach out to surgeons in conflict zones and austere environments.

We were joined by up to 100 doctors from around 29 countries over the course the weekend, who were additionally able to pose their questions in real-time to the presenters and ask for advice on cases presenting to them in their localities.

COVID-19 has changed the way that we are able to deliver our training courses in 2020/21. The DigiHEST pilot study is extremely encouraging to our team as it shows that not only can we continue to deliver a high quality training product, but the use of live-streaming technology has implications for the future democratisation of surgical training for the austere environment. Our aim is to get back on the road and delivering face-to-face courses around the world again as soon as possible, but the hard work that has gone into piloting the concept of DigiHEST will inform how we can best deliver training in the future.

New year, same mission.

In 2021 we have ambitious goals. Our Operations Director, Jon Barden, had this to say:

“Thank you for all your generous support during this very strange year. Despite not being able to travel from March onwards, we have been using the time to make improvements to our training models and make new training videos. We’ve lost count of the number of training skulls we’ve cut into pieces and posted to David so that he can make videos of how to put them back together again.

As soon as we possibly can we want to get back on the road and delivering HEST face to face. We’ve got courses lined up for places like Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somaliland and South Sudan so that as soon as we can we’ll be adding another 150 surgeons to the DNF family.

Everyone connected with the David Nott Foundation is looking forward to getting back out there and providing the life-saving surgical training that your fantastic support makes possible. Please consider donating in this new year to get our team back on the road.

David Nott Foundation
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