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GHPN Workshop in Namibia

Workshop on Pathology and Basic Mechanisms of Disease
University of Namibia-School of Veterinary Medicine
March 28-30, 2023

by Dr. Derron “Tony” Alves

For the first time in southern Africa, the Global Health Pathology Network (GHPN), in conjunction with and supported by the Davis-Thompson Foundation (DTF), conducted a three-day workshop held March 28-30, 2023 on “Pathology and Basic Mechanisms of Disease” at the University of Namibia’s School of Veterinary Medicine (UNAM SoVM). The lead GHPN trainers for this didactic, interactive, and case-based scenario workshop were Drs. Derron “Tony” Alves, Kelsey Fiddes, and Javier Asin along with onsite facilitators Dr. John Yabe, senior lecturer and head of pathology, and Dr. Douglas Mudimba, senior lecturer, at UNAM’s SoVM. Up to 36 registered clinical veterinarians, pathologists, and paraprofessionals from academia, government, and the private sector attended the workshop which accounted for continuing medical education credits for attendees through the Veterinary Association of Namibia (VAN) and the Namibian Veterinary Council.

Participants engaging in scenario-based, group discussions

Over the course of the three days, using the adult learning theory and concepts, attendees gathered and participated in group interactive and practical sessions. In the morning, participants worked in small groups (5-7 individuals per group each with varied professional backgrounds), reviewing general pathologic processes applicable to the clinical practitioner and seasoned pathologist; as well as discussed select diseases of importance affecting Namibia’s cattle, small ruminant, poultry, and small animal population. All morning discussions were presented as case scenarios, with questions embedded, allowing attendees to actively participate, develop differential diagnoses, and annotate ideas and discussion points using flip charts followed by case review and entire classroom discussion.

Practical session at the postmortem room

During the afternoon of Day 1 and 2, trainers led a highly anticipated sheep and goat postmortem examination (necropsy) laboratory, which included a demonstration by Dr. Asin on proper sampling techniques for both rabies and scrapie. Additionally, two standalone lectures were provided by UNAM faculty members during the workshop: (1) Dr. Yabe expertly highlighted the growing capabilities of UNAM SoVM’s pathology diagnostic service, which included real case submissions from local dogs and cats; and (2) Dr. Yvonne Hemberger (senior lecturer, Veterinary Public Health) presented a 45-minute keynote lecture on classic gross lesions observed in abattoirs in Namibia.

Dr. Yabe introducing the UNAM SoVM histopathology services

Although the formal pathology workshop concluded after three days, on the morning of the fourth day Drs. Alves, Fiddes, and Asin participated in two canine and an equine postmortem examination led by Dr. Yabe and Dr. Mudimba. This exciting morning allowed the three visiting pathologists to actively engage with and co-train 5th year veterinary students as they participated as prosectors in the postmortem examinations. As a culmination for this wonderful week of workshop training, the staff clinician and representative for student development asked Dr. Alves, Fiddes, and Asin to provide three 15-minute oral case presentations to the entire UNAM SoVM student body and teaching staff. These cases were presented to over 125 participants in a lively standing room only lecture hall.

Dr. Alves recording the different backgrounds and roles of the participants

This first-of-a-kind pathology workshop in this locale was an astounding success as demonstrated through post-workshop comments and after action reviews. The overwhelming success could not have happened without the team Dr. Yabe assembled prior to and during the workshop to include the behind scenes efforts of Dr. Andrea Klingelhoeffer (Veterinary Association of Namibia) and Ms. Jennifer Haihambo (Dean’s office). The GHPN and DTF look forward to continued engagement with Dr. Yabe and the rest of UNAM-SoVM’s highly motivated pathology staff!

Group photo of all the participants at the Neudamm Campus

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Wilson Yau

Wilson Yau


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