Education and Training

Paediatric Endocrinology in Developing Countries

Support for Paediatric Endocrinology in Developing Countries

Following a budgetary surplus of the ESPE 2004 Annual Meeting in Basel, the ESPE Council decided in January 2005 to form a charitable account for projects to support paediatric endocrinology in developing countries. A Steering Committee was appointed, consisting of Ze'ev Hochberg (coordinator), Martin Ritzen, Stefano Cianfarani and Paul Czernichow.

The first decision was to focus on Africa. A working program was developed that included teaching programs for paediatricians as the first phase. The first delegation of teachers went to Nigeria in October 2005.

Two additional schools are planned for 2006, one in Nairobi for paediatricians from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia and the other in Rabat, for colleagues from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Graduates of the schools will receive continuous issues of Hormone Research that were donated by our members and shipped to Africa through the generosity of Karger AG. Each student has also been tied with a volunteering European centre as part of our sister-departments program for educational material, discussion of cases and any help they may need.

Our second phase plan is to train African fellows, who would come for 3-6 months to European centres. They are expected to reach a degree of understanding that would allow them to open centres of excellence in endocrinology and diabetes, while keeping contact with their host European centres. We hope that some of our members would volunteer to spend a month or two in an Africa mission while these centres are established.

A more ambitious plan for phase three is to initiate congenital hypothyroidism screening programs.

The calls for volunteers yielded so far a list of 39 ESPE members who are willing to contribute in several different ways. We hope that following this report, many others will email me and volunteer for any of the following activities:

  1. Teaching on a 5-day course in Africa
  2. Hosting an African fellow for 6-months
  3. Donating your personal Hormone Research to Africa
  4. Joining the sister-departments program
  5. Going on a 1-2 month mission in an Africa centre for paediatric endocrinology and diabetes

In September 2005, we asked our partners in the industry to join us in these efforts and we still expect them to respond positively. We are trying to join forces with international support bodies and we are negotiating with the EU, UNICEF, WHO and the IDF for collaboration. Funding continues to be an important concern and if you are aware of foundations that support programs for Africa or other developing countries, it would be a great help if you could connect them with us.

We call every ESPE member to help us help Africa.

Ze'ev Hochberg
Coordinator, ESPE Africa Programme

(Contact Ze'ev Hochberg)