By Faith Sim Yen Xin

Second-year medical student, Monash University Malaysia

(Published in OGSM CONNECT Newsletter January 2023, Issue 1, Council 2022/2023)

In January 2023, upon completing my second year in medical school, I was delighted to have the opportunity to be an observer for the ICOE course held in Vientiane, Laos. On the day of arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the local trainers and headed to the venue, Mother and Child Central Hospital. The Malaysian trainers have worked in partnership with the local trainers in setting up the stations. In relation to that, the Malaysian team has supplemented various medical equipment to allow for the best learning experience.

The course officially began with a pre-course skills assessment to gauge the skills of the participants. The training was then carried out in the form of breakouts, which is unarguably an effective way to facilitate an individual’s learning. As Anton Chekhov stated, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” ICOE has emphasised on practical learning by exposing the trainees to various simulated conditions, thus promoting a more interactive approach, and allowing participants to gain a deeper understanding. In addition to that, the importance of debriefing and feedback was also one of the highlights of this course. This is because feedback promotes personal and professional growth by focusing on constructive criticism, bringing both parties together, enabling a productive communication flow. The course then ended with a post- assessment, and the improvement shown by each trainee proved that the goals of this course were met.

Personally, this course acts as a powerful motivational tool, which reinforces the lessons and theories I learnt in school, thus encouraging further learning in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. By implementing a more hands-on training, this course has expanded my knowledge in a more tangible manner. As an observer, I believe that ICOE is an important rite of passage and has positively impacted the local doctors’ personal development, enhancing their confidence in managing various obstetric emergencies. From the social aspect, ICOE has provided a platform for cross-cultural communication, which is essential to empower all parties to gain from the flow of valuable knowledge.

As a second-year medical student, this intensive course was both rewarding and beneficial. In short, I strongly believe that the continuous effort of organising ICOE has served as an amazing opportunity for medical personnels to sharpen and reinforce both their medical knowledge and skill in managing various obstetric emergencies thus, improving maternal morbidity and mortality in Laos.

Day of Arrival (12/1/2023)
Pre-Course Skills Assessment: ABC+CPR (left), Breech (right)
Day 1: ABC+CPR (left), Maternal Resuscitation (right)
Day 2: Vacuum/Forceps (left), Injuries/Incisions (right)