Anne G. Osborn Outreach Professorship offered by American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) is a unique opportunity to learn and share the knowledge across the borders. It is a volunteer program available to Senior members of ASNR who are interested in teaching in developing countries. It is not a traditional visiting professor program but is an outreach program where the costs of the program are shared between the ASNR member, the ASNR, and the host organization in the host country. The main objective of the program is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and techniques, and to teach. I was absolutely delighted to get the email notification from Dr. Bruno Policeni, ASNR International Collaboration Committee Chair, that I was selected to be the Anne G. Osborn ASNR Outreach Professor to Ethiopia for 2019.
It gave me an amazing opportunity to visit Ethiopia and was particularly exciting for me as this was for the first time ASNR had chosen someone outside North America. Planning for the trip started early with April 2019 as a preferred time for visit. I flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in early April 2019 and spent about 3 weeks at Radiology Department, Addis Ababa University College of Health Sciences at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (Black Lion Hospital). This is the main tertiary teaching hospital in the country with about 700 beds and has attached Medical, Nursing and Pharmacy school. The Radiology dept has a busy Ultrasound service and has 2 CT scanners and one Philips MRI scanner. Unfortunately, the MRI scanner was not in service, so patients were sent to St. Pauls hospital nearby for MRI studies. I spent most of my time at Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Neurology faculty lecture at Zewditu Memorial hospital and a short visit to Wuddassie Radiology Centre. Dr. Tesfaye Kebede is the Chair of Radiology, Dr. Abebe Mekonnen is Head of the Neuroradiology Division and Dr. Tequam Debebe is the Dean of the Medical School. I had a warm welcome from the faculty on first day and was introduced to other Neuroradiology colleagues. I had my hospital tour and orientation on the same day, finishing off with the best Coffee.
Radiology dept is fully subspecialised in to different faculties with digital PACS in the reading room. Every single day I was picked up by gracious host, hospital staff or attending and dropped home safely to the hotel. Neuroradiology dept is very well organised with attending faculty and has Neuroradiology fellows in training. Faculty and fellows are very well trained with most of them have spent some time in USA at Emory University or other premier sites. Dr Abebe Mekonnen was my host for the site and I can’t thank him enough for his hospitality and care, I never felt out of place and was regularly updated on my mobile phone about lecture schedule or any teaching plans. Understanding impact of CNS Tuberculosis and discussing some phenomenal cases with Dr.Amal Saleh and Dr. Mekonnen made me realise that I would have otherwise never seen these cases and was a wealth of knowledge and great learning experience for me. I really enjoyed the case discussions and was impressed by the variety of cases and disease spectrum in Ethiopia, very different to what I see at my institute in Australia.
My day use to start early in the morning at 7.30 am with Tomoka coffee, the best coffee in the world on board for 8 am lecture and second lecture at 1.30pm after lunch. Both lecture sessions were well attended by neuroradiology and other radiology faculty and Residents. I gave almost 16 lectures on various topics in Neuroradiology and Head and Neck Imaging with some case discussions and pertinent teaching points. I also attended Neurosurgery case conference and other clinical meetings. Every afternoon from 2pm till 6-7 pm was spent with resident teaching and reviewing live workstations cases. I saw almost every single manifestation of CNS tuberculosis and some other unusual infections including HIV, Schistosomiasis etc. I quickly learnt that paediatric neuro cases of brain stem and spinal cord lesions are not always gliomas and astrocytoma’s but can be Tuberculomas or Schistosomiasis granulomas.
Residents, Aga and Frewoini, the faculty, fellows and residents went out of their way to help me and made my stay comfortable. I would like to specially thank chief resident Aga for helping me out. They were my local guides and got to know them very well and heard some of their inspiring stories of hardships they had to go through to get into Medical School and on the radiology training program.
I also had honour of speaking at National Neurosurgery Conference halfway through my visit in April. Different charitable organisations and local government involved in tackling the problem of Spinal dysraphism, was an eye opener. I gave 3 lectures at the conference and was hosted by Neurosurgery faculty Dr. Abenezer Tirsit.
I had a great mix of teaching, learning, cultural and culinary experience. One fine evening understanding folk dances from different provinces of Ethiopia was a holistic and a cultural experience. I had opportunity to relish some of the best Ethiopian food and delicacies, my favourite being Injera and Shiro. Soon came the send-off dinner at an Indian restaurant, it was a difficult one to say good bye as I quickly realised that the visit is about to finish soon.
I am extremely grateful to American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) for organizing and facilitating the program, and Prof. Anne Osborn for supporting this incredible outreach professorship to promote neuroradiology throughout the world. Meeting this Legend in Neuroradiology at RSNA and few other conferences have really enriched my personality and getting a personal thank you note from Prof. Osborn after finishing the Professorship gave me immense sense of fulfillment and was really humbled by the gesture. This teaching experience has been one of its kind, memories of which I will cherish for the rest of the life.
This trip gave me a flashback memory of Rouse Fellow Teaching Professorship I did through Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiology(RANZCR) in New Zealand,2012. I have made friends and colleagues for life and to date keep in touch with them and discuss cases with them. I hope to setup a more constant and robust online teaching platform for the residents as they really appreciate every moment of teaching. This experience was so special to me that it has influenced my life in a positive way. There is a constant urge to go back for another visit which I will do in near future.
Prof. Sandeep Bhuta