The “Friends of Africa-USCAP initiative” is a voluntary group initiated by Dr Fred Silva [Executive Vice President, United States and Canadian Academy of Pathologists (USCAP) a division of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP)] and a number of other pathologists who came together under the auspices of the USCAP to try to understand some of the unique challenges of the African pathologist/s and to provide some help as may be needed for our colleagues in sub-Saharan Africa
The Friends of Africa–USCAP Initiative started at the 94th Annual Meeting of the USCAP in San Antonio, Texas (February 26-March 4. 2005). A number (approximately 30-40 individual pathologists) gathered on three separate occasions during this meeting to discuss how we could help our pathology colleagues in SubSaharan Africa.
The USCAP has an almost 30 year history of helping our pathology colleagues/IAP Divisions throughout the world with the shipment of huge amounts of free educational materials from our Annual USCAP Meetings. However, when one looked at the world-map it was clear that there was a huge geographic area not “covered” (i.e., SubSaharan Africa). Although the north portions of Africa are aided by three IAP Divisions (British, French, and Arab Divisions of the IAP), there had not previously been any involvement by the USCAP (or anyone else as far as we could determine) in the various, underserved countries of SubSaharan Africa.
It was agreed that efforts to support the pathologists on the continent would need to be divided into phases which for convenience are categorized as follows:
- Phase 1 – To provide access to educational materials in the form of hard copies of journals, e-Journals and USCAP journal / website access etc.
- Phase II – To assist in the provision of programs of continuing medical education in the form of (a) pathology updates, conferences, seminars and annual pathology courses (b) short week long or weekend training seminars for technologists, as well as (c) collaborative projects within Africa and outside Africa.
- Phase III – To develop a coordinated “Equipment for Africa ” campaign (EFA.). A number of institutions have indicated the availability of serviceable equipment which can be donated to institutions in need.