The AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya is considering using goat cadavers for training medical students in handling trauma cases.
Working with the Wake Forest University, US, test simulations have been carried out and reported to have gone very well.
As reported last week (2nd July 2021) in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care the authors say the simulation was a huge success.
The authors, from AIC Kijabe Hospital and Wake Forest University, say the use of goat cadaver would be a cost-effective resource for teaching emergency medicine, especially in poor countries.
To assess the viability of goat cadavers the team had executed a five-day course among trainers at Kijabe Hospital. The course had assessed satisfaction among trainers and teaching effectiveness.
The course, the report says was rated very highly, with good scores in content satisfaction and teaching effectiveness with positive faculty feedback.
“A goat cadaver is a cost-effective resource not often considered that can be adequately used to teach several emergency medicine skills by simulation,” says the report.
The use of non-human cadavers may be new in Kenya but has been used extensively especially by the US military in training emergency medical personnel.
With the proliferation of improvised explosive devices designed to cause severe injuries, the US and other militaries have resorted to live tissue trauma training.
This involves the use of animals, mostly goats, and pigs, in training doctors and paramedics in treating severe traumatic injuries.
This is largely thought to be more economical compared to the use of human cadavers or expensive simulators not available in poor countries.
The acceptability to use animal cadavers in place of human dead in Kenya may ease the current pressure facing medical training institutions.
Due to cultural practices that put a premium on burying loved ones and a dramatic increase of medical school in Kenya cadavers for training and research are hard to come by.
“Currently there are many more medical schools, carrying out programmes that require the use of cadavers than before,” said Prof Peter Gichangi of the University of Nairobi in an earlier interview.
This high demand is also suspected to be fanning an illegal market for bodies and body parts in Kenya.
“We are grappling with numerous cases of missing bodies and the illegal harvesting of body parts in our mortuaries,” says Ezra Olack, the national Chairman of Funeral Services Association of Kenya.
Olack suspects that while some body parts may be meant for witchcraft others are being sold to medical training institutions that do not want to go through a long and corrupt process of acquiring cadavers.
In Kenya, research and medical training institutions get unclaimed bodies at no cost though recently the law has allowed people to donate their bodies for academic work when they die.
By Gatonye Gathura