AO celebrates 40 years of AO Trauma in the Middle East

At this year's Dubai regional courses, the AO community celebrates 40 years of AO Trauma in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region.

16 October 2019

AO TMENA Chairperson Muhammad Wajid

At the opening ceremony, participants took some time to look back at how the AO's presence in this vital region has grown and changed over the years.

In this interview, AO Trauma Middle East and Northern Africa (AO TMENA) Chairperson Muhammad Wajid talks about the AO in the region.

What does the AO mean in MENA region?

The AO is one of the most recognized names for education of trauma, CMF, spine and operating room personnel in the region. It has set new standards of medical education by imparting up-to-date knowledge to surgeons and health care professional thorough face to face hands-on courses, including cadaver courses, symposia, webinars, and workshops. In doing so, it helps these surgeons and healthcare professional to improve the quality of care for their patients. Today it is continuing to do this and is expanding its network to the countries of Northern Africa.

How has the AO grown or changed in the region?

Over the last 40 years since its first AO event, AO activities across the region steadily increased in number. Moreover, now we have more comprehensive and up-to-date, hands-on events to help surgeons improve their skills and deliver better patient care. This has undoubtedly improved the medical care for and outcomes of the patients that are treated by AO educated surgeons.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities the AO faces in MENA?

This is a growing region for the AO and naturally there are challenges. The main ones are due to regional political environment in which we have to work. The region continues to experience armed conflicts, which (in addition to the human suffering involved) has implications for the movement of personal and material. However, due to the resilience and enthusiasm of our faculty, and despite these challenges, we have been able to grow. We have launched AO activities in new countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and Palestine, and we continue to make efforts to ensure these activities sustainable.

The opportunities are countless. We have very dedicated faculty, and there is large unmet demand for AO activities throughout the region. In many countries, events we offer are filled in very short time and this demand is growing. 

I believe that if we have more resources this increasing need can be met and that we have the potential to change millions of lives.

What are the biggest achievements of the AO in MENA over this 40 years?

There are many milestone achievements. However, one major achievement is the official recognition as the AO TMENA region. Being recognized formally as an AO region has provided a framework and platform for the growth of all the clinical divisions in the region.

What do the Dubai courses mean for the medical community in the region?

Dubai has been a central point for most of the regional AO activities for many years. These courses provide a platform where representatives and faculty from all the country chapters in the region meet every year to exchange knowledge and discuss future plans. We invite faculty from rest of the four regions of AO as well as senior representatives from the AO. This provides great stimulus and collaboration between other AO regions. 

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