Paediatric Endocrine Training Centers for Africa (PETCA)
ESPE together with the International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) and the British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes (BSPED) supports the Paediatric Endocrine Training Centers for Africa (PETCA) and Paediatric Endocrine Training Centers for West Africa (PETCWA) programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. The programmes aim to provide specialty training in endocrinology and diabetes to paediatricians who have completed their general paediatric training.
The course lasts for 18 months and includes 6 months full time residency in a PECTA Training Centre with an additional 9 months at the trainees' home institution completing a research project.
ESPE members who are interested in teaching on the PETCA courses should contact Jan Lebl who is the ESPE PETCA Coordinator.
PETCA and its graduates have also acted as a catalyst for the establishment of the African Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology (ASPAE) .
ASPAE held their Annual Meeting virtually from 25th-27th March 2021. The Theme of the meeting was "A comprehensive approach to paediatric endocrine disorders in a resource-limited setting 'clinical and diagnostic perspective'".
Entering a new phase
The early days of postgraduate training for paediatric endocrinology and diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa started in 2004 with pioneering work by Ze’ev Hochberg organising short courses in Nigeria and Kenya. He was enthusiastically supported by Franco Chiarelli who was Secretary-General of ESPE at the time. Martin Ritzen coordinated the teaching. It soon became apparent that a more substantial course of 18 months was required for which Nairobi was chosen as a suitable centre. Thus in 2008 with the support of ESPE and ISPAD, PETCA was launched with Thomas Ngwiri as its Director. The first tutor on that course was Lorenzo Lughetti. A second training centre was established in 2010 based in Lagos for West Africa (PETCWA) with Abiola Oduwole as its Director. As a result of these initiatives, now upwards of 130 Fellows have graduated from the 18 month course and have developed specialist centres in their home countries. Many occupy senior positions in their respective institutions.
By all accounts, the PETCA and PETCWA programmes have been highly successful. The graduates between them with the help of ESPE and ISPAD tutors have realised 245 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 30 book chapters and numerous presentations at national and international conferences. The Fellows seeded establishment of the African Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology (ASPAE) which holds its 12th Annual Conference hosted virtually by Tanzania in March 2021. Associated with the Annual Conference in the past two years is a new sub-Saharan School for Fellows. A major milestone was achieved in September 2020 when the PETCA course was recognised as a postgraduate qualification within the University of Nairobi. Similar academic recognition of PETCWA is progressing towards a Masters programme of the University of Lagos. The ESPE Education and Training Committee (ETC) has rated the trio of PETCA/PETCWA/ASPAE and School as the jewel in the crown of its myriad of activities.
A new phase of activity has now started as these African-based programmes transition towards becoming more self-sufficient. A Taskforce has been established by ESPE to oversee developments through to 2024. Membership comprises the Directors of PETCA and PETCWA, a representative from the University of Nairobi, the organiser of the sub-Saharan School, the ISPAD PETCA/PETCWA Coordinator and the ESPE PETCA/PETCWA Coordinator working jointly with an ASPAE Coordinator to work as Joint Chairs of the Taskforce. This reflects the ethos of recognising the enormous strides made by paediatric endocrine and diabetes specialists in sub-Saharan Africa to drive forward improved services for children and young persons in the numerous countries that make up the African continent. The ESPE Office has provided administrative support for the Taskforce.
ESPE has strongly supported PETCA, PETCWA and ASPAE from their inception through the appointment of Faisal Ahmed as the first Coordinator, followed by John Gregory and then Ieuan Hughes. His tenure as the ESPE Coordinator for (2013-2020) was extended by one year to establish the Taskforce which prepared the Business Case for transition and ratified by Council. His successor was appointed following a formal application process when the ETC assessed a field of excellent candidates. Professor Jan Lebl, Head of Department of Paediatrics in Prague, has been appointed the ESPE Joint Coordinator for the PETCA/PETWA programmes and allied activities with ASPAE. Jan Lebl has extensive experience of working in Africa and contributing to training programmes in resource-limited countries. He will steer the Taskforce through the next four years to enable a new phase of postgraduate training in sub-Saharan Africa to be maintained and flourish in the long term with contacts still maintained with ESPE and ISPAD.
Grateful thanks are owed to those pioneers from ESPE and ISPAD who crucially enabled the training programmes to start and subsequently to the many tutors who have given freely of their time to teach the Fellows. During these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Directors of the programmes in Nairobi and Lagos are to be congratulated on managing to maintain courses, a feat which also happened during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Professor Hughes noted that it has been a great honour and privilege to work with colleagues in Africa dedicated to improving services for children and young people.
Participants who apply for membership for the year immediately following their attendance at a school are entitled to one year's free ESPE membership. Please note that this does not apply to existing ESPE members.