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Is McDonald’s a solution for African hunger?

Narration by: Shariq Ali
June 29, 2011
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Recently I was invited to give a talk and share our (Interburns) experience of imparting surgical training in Africa. The venue was the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London and the occasion was a joint meeting of Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) and The College of Surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).  Representatives from many global organizations active in surgical training were also present.

RSM is located in Wimpole Street London and was originally founded on 22 May 1805 in the era of King George as an institution that would bring together branches of the medical profession “for the purpose of conversation on professional subjects, for the reception of communications and for the formation of a library”. It adopted the current name of Royal Society of Medicine in 1907

After the talk, I was sitting in the expert panel along with other speakers and the discussion was about finding the ways to impart effective surgical training in Africa. There was a remarkable enthusiasm on the floor and a variety of opinions came through. It was not at all a surprise as it was a gathering of global elites on the subject of surgical training.

Few experts from USA were understandably proud and very vocal of their model of trauma training. My point was simple. Although universal principles of good practice transgress the boundaries of time and space, but meticulously prepared protocols and thoughtfully designed standards and gradually developed piles of knowledge over the years in the west cannot be applied unchanged in the developing world scenario because of the simple fact that the perspective is different.

It requires flexibility and contextual understanding of the working environment where this knowledge and skills and attitudes are going to be ultimately practiced.

Food is understandably an answer to hunger.  But Mc Donald`s is surely not the best choice for the hungry African population in Sub-Saharan desert!


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