First Francophone Course of the Commission on African Affairs

Dakar, Senegal

15 - 18 July 2013

The first Francophone Course of the Commission of African Affairs (CAA), held in Dakar, Senegal from July 15 to July 18 2013, was a true success! Originally scheduled to take place in 2012 in Bamako, Mali, it was moved to Dakar due to the political unrest in Mali.

First Francophone Course of the Commission on African Affairs

Despite the change in location, more than 100 French speaking neurologists, neurology residents and neurosurgeons attended. This included the target population this course was initially created for, the Malian primary care physicians, also known as RARE network. The Malian group was well represented with 15 members with 12 primary care physicians, 2 neurologists and 1 neurosurgeon. Also significant was the presence of participants from all French speaking Africa, a number of which are part of the Dakar neurology program, including the Masters in Epileptology. Countries represented included: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Congo and of course Senegal.

The topics of interest were put together by Dr Gallo Diop (Senegal) and Dr Youssoufa Maiga (Mali). A group of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-radiologists and neuro-epidemiologists shared the task of providing the avid learners with a 4-day course. Teachers included Drs Diop, Toure, Ndiaye, Ba, Seybou, Fall, Sow, Seck and Basse from Senegal, Drs Koumaré, Landouré, Nimaga and Mamadou from Mali and Drs Carmant, Mercier and Nguyen from Canada who obtained a grant from the North-American Commission and University of Montreal to partner with French speaking countries of the CAA.

The course was a comprehensive review of epilepsy going from basic sciences and the physiological basis of EEG on day 1, to diagnosis, classification and treatment of the epilepsies on day 2, followed by investigation and surgical/alternative approach to the refractory epilepsies on day 3, including a case-review session and finally on day 4, review of the CAA programs already in place. The meeting lead to numerous exchanges including partnerships to start a ketogenic diet program in Dakar as well as epilepsy surgery programs in both Dakar and Bamako for lesional epilepsies including patients with MR proven mesial temporal sclerosis.

All participants expressed their high level of satisfaction after the course and a second course is already in preparation for 2015-2016. The course has solidified the partnership between the Canadian League and Senegalese and Malian Leagues as well as the partnership program between the North American Commission and the Commission for African Affairs.

We would like to thank the ILAE for their support of this program.
Lional Carmant, MD, Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, CHU Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal
Amadou Gallo Diop, MD, Professor of Neurology and Medicine, CHU Fann, Université de Dakar