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World Gastroenterology Organisation
World Gastroenterology Organisation
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March 2015

The Joy of Teaching

Recently I have had the pleasure of witnessing in action some of the work that is undertaken at one of the WGO Training Centres. I will not name the centre nor the people involved as they may be embarrassed by what I have to say. Such is the way that they carry out their work.

A group of gastroenterologists and nurses funded themselves to go to the centre. They were picked up at the airport by their grateful hosts and taken to the 3 star hotel where they were staying for the duration of the visit; two weeks. The foreign visitors booked in to the hotel and paid for their accommodation in advance. Such is the custom in this part of the world.

The hosts already had an evening welcome function organized at a local restaurant. The food was outstanding. The conversation was animated as you might expect amongst old friends.

Some of the visitors had been here a year earlier and had made a number of recommendations in order to improve the standard of health care delivery in the institution. The hosts were eager to show them the changes.

Next day we all went to the centre. The changes were most marked in the endoscopy procedure rooms. New wash up facilities for the staff and the endoscopes had been built. The floors were newly covered and spotlessly clean. I had not seen the facilities previously, but was assured that the change was impressive.

The visitors set to work. The hosts introduced us to the trainees, a mixture of GI Fellows, generalists, and GI Surgeons. In this part of the world much of gastroenterology is delivered by surgeons and hence their desire to be trained in advanced endoscopic techniques.

The training comprised of a mixture of hands on under supervision with one on one teaching, as well as group discussion and more formal tutorials. The involvement of the visiting nurses was also impressive. There was an easy relationship between peers and an obvious appreciation for the passing on of information and skills.

This is what happens at one WGO Training Centre. By the end of 2015 there will be 25 WGO Training Centres. Each is different in character and need. However all share one quality, it is where enthusiastic teachers and eager trainees and colleagues meet.

As the current president of WGO I am very proud and honoured to lead an organization which is having such an extraordinary impact via education in improving the standard of delivery of GI services to so many parts of the world.

I acknowledge and thank all of those volunteer trainers who help make it happen.


James Toouli
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
President, World Gastroenterology Organisation