WFNS Training Centers, the pride of Foundation.

WFNS Reference Training Centers educate neurosurgeons from developing countries. Financially supported by the Foundation, after finishing the 5 years residency program the trainees come back to their country of origin. Prof. El Khamlichi, the greater promoter of African Neurosurgery, is linked to the beginning and development of the Rabat Training Center that trained dozens of neurosurgeons now actively working all over the Africa continent. He will introduce us to this iconic institution for WFNS.

WFNS-Rabat Reference Center pioneer of African Regional Training Centers

A. El Khamlichi, A. El Ouahabi, A El Azhari, N El Abbadi, MF Chaoui, S. Ait Benali, R. Al Maakili,

B. Mostarchid

WFNS-RTC, Mohammed V University, Rabat

The WFNS-Rabat Reference Center for training young African neurosurgeons or WFNS-Rabat Training Center (WFNS-RTC) is a pioneer African Regional Training Center accredited by the WFNS, to train Young African neurosurgeons in their home continent. The WFNS-RTC was created between 2000-2002 to meet the great need for neurosurgeons in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (1). Since the WFNS-RTC was set up, it has been unconditionally supported by the Moroccan Society of Neurosurgery, in collaboration with University departments of neurosurgery, and benefited from a regular follow up from the WFNS. The signing of the Co-operation Agreement between the WFNS and Mohammed V University of Rabat, facilitated the implementation of the project and ensured its sustainability (fig. 1 a and b).

Fig 1 (a) Abdeslam El Khamlichi, Director of the WFNS-RTC at Mohammed V University, Najia Hajjaj, Dean of the Medical School at Mohammed V University, signing the Cooperation Agreement (Marrakech, June 19, 2005).

Fig 1 (b) Ed Laws, WFNS President and Madjid Samii, WFNS Foundation President signing the Cooperation Agreement (Marrakech, June 19, 2005).

During two decades, the WFNS-RTC achieved fantastic results: 66 young African doctors have enrolled in the Center, coming from nineteen SSA countries where the ratio of neurosurgeons was between one neurosurgeon to 3-20 million inhabitants (fig. 3); 40 have already finished their five-year training, passed the final exam and obtained a diploma of specialty in Neurosurgery; a special training certificate has also been handed to them by the WFNS (fig. 2). All these 40 young neurosurgeons are already back home doing their best to develop neurosurgery in their respective countries. 26 out of 66 are still under training, distributed among nine departments of neurosurgery in five different universities (Rabat, Casablanca, Fez and Marrakech).

Fig 2: Late Dr Didier Mudjir Balanda, First WFNS-RTC trainee in Rabat, receiving his diploma from Prof. A El Khamlichi, June 2007. He came from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) where the ratio of neurosurgeons was 1:30 million inhabitants

Fig. 3: Total number of trainees enrolled in the WFNS-RTC/Country (2002-2019)

The second mission of the WFNS-RTC is to ensure continuing medical education by organizing seminars, workshops and yearly courses (known as WFNS-RTC-Mohammed 5 University Course for African Neurosurgeons) (Fig. 4,5,6,7). In addition to the scientific exchange, these training meetings encourage African neurosurgeons to meet international experts in neurosurgery, especially WFNS officers, for whom the course is an occasion to follow the WFNS-RTC activity and the evolution of African neurosurgery.

Fig 4: Workshop chaired by Prof. M.G. Yasargil (Little Rock, USA)
during his visit to the WFNS-Rabat Training Center, September 12-17, 2003

Fig 4: Workshop chaired by Prof. M.G. Yasargil (Little Rock, USA)
during his visit to the WFNS-Rabat Training Center, September 12-17, 2003

Fig 6: Speakers & participants of the 4th WFNS-RTC-M5U Course, Rabat, March, 25-27, 2011

Fig 7: Picture with the WFNS President, WFNS-RTC professors and trainees,
10th WFNS-RTC-M5U Course, Marrakech, Oct. 17, 2018

The results of two decades activity of the WFNS-RTC and the enthusiasm generated by the first World Congress organized in Africa (Marrakech, 2005), have succeeded in introducing neurosurgery in 19 Sub-Saharan African countries, in increasing the number of neurosurgeons in the region by five times, and the number of national training centers by six times. This evolution enabled African neurosurgery to emerge and step out of the shadow. All details on this evolution are gathered in a special book published by Dr. A. El Khamlichi last year and available online (3).

Fig 8: Cover of the book published last year with all details on the history, evolution and current situation of
African Neurosurgery (3)

With these outstanding results, the WFNS-RTC can be considered as an example of North-South and South-South cooperation in the field of medical training. This success has been made possible thanks to the commitment of Moroccan neurosurgeons and authorities, to the full support of the WFNS and its Foundation, to the crucial role of Hassan II Foundation for Prevention and Cure of Nervous System Diseases and collaboration of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation.