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First Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infection Course Held in Addis Ababa


Mohan V. Belthur, MD

In a groundbreaking initiative to advance pediatric healthcare in LMICs, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia played host to the inaugural AO Alliance/CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infection Course, bringing together trauma and orthopedic surgeons and residents from across the country and from Kenya. The event was chaired by Drs Mohan V. Belthur from Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and Tim Nunn from CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia.

Drs Belthur and Nunn, co-chairs

Pediatric musculoskeletal infections are one of the top five conditions contributing to the burden of musculoskeletal disease in children, globally. Early diagnosis, followed by adequate and appropriate care, results in good outcomes while delayed diagnosis, inadequate, and inappropriate care results in poor outcomes and a high rate of sequela approaching 50% in affected children. The outcomes in LMICs are poor due to many barriers to healthcare, and hence children in LMICs have a high prevalence of complications and sequelae following pediatric musculoskeletal infections.

The two-day course focused on knowledge translation to address the complexities of musculoskeletal infections in children, a critical aspect of pediatric orthopedics that demands specialized knowledge and skills.

Dr Belthur, a leading figure in pediatric orthopedics, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating, "This course marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance pediatric healthcare in Ethiopia. Musculoskeletal infections in children present unique challenges, and this course is designed to equip healthcare professionals with the latest insights and techniques to provide optimal care to improve outcomes for children with musculoskeletal infection and it’s sequelae thereby reducing the economic burden of musculoskeletal infections and allowing the children to become active members of the community they live in."

Joining him was Dr Nunn, a seasoned expert in the field, who emphasized the importance of collaborative learning and knowledge exchange. "Our goal is not only to share expertise but to build a network of healthcare professionals dedicated to advancing pediatric musculoskeletal care. This course provides a platform for interactive discussions, case studies, and firsthand sessions, fostering a community committed to improving outcomes for young patients."

Drs Anthony Cooper (Canada), Sarah Dorman (UK), Jim Harrison (UK), Lawrence Wicks (Ethiopia), Ashish Ranade (India), Mesfin Kassahun (Ethiopia), and Tewodros Zerfu (Ethiopia) comprised the rest of the faculty.

Small groups for case discussions

The course drew a diverse group of participants, totalling 40 attendees from various healthcare institutions in Ethiopia and neighbouring countries.

The curriculum was comprehensive, covering a range of topics including diagnostic approaches, treatment modalities, and surgical interventions for musculoskeletal infections and their sequelae in children. The interactive nature of the course encouraged active participation and facilitated networking among healthcare professionals with a shared interest in pediatric orthopedics.

As the first of its kind organized by the AO Alliance and CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia in the region, the Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infection Course in Addis Ababa is poised to make a lasting impact on improving outcomes for young patients facing musculoskeletal infections. The success of this inaugural event sets the stage for future initiatives aimed at advancing specialized medical education in Ethiopia and beyond.