By Dr Lee Chui Ling
ICOE Trainer since 2018, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of a team with four others: Dr Tang Boon Nee (ICOE course director), Dr Hii Ling Yen, Dr Nina Lau Lee Jing, and Mr. Baskaren, as part of our second visit to China. Throughout the pandemic, ICOE organised several online courses in partnership with Laerdal China. The ICOE trainer handbook was translated into Mandarin to better resonate with the local trainers. Additionally, ICOE team created a series of education videos, skilfully produced by Dr Yong Soon Leong and Dr Woon Su Yen.

After three years, China’s ‘zero COVID’ policy has ended, allowing us to explore the country once again. However, traveling to China remains challenging due to intricate visa applications, including online forms, in-person document submission, and fingerprint recording at the embassy.

Our team of four trainers journeyed from Kuala Lumpur to Shenzhen. Dr Hii, starting from Kota Kinabalu, faced flight delays due to heavy rainfall—the worst since 1884, causing her flight to land 800km from the intended destination. Fortunately, the high-speed railway allowed her to join us the next morning for the noon session.

The next day, despite the heavy rain, our team arrived at the Shenzhen Maternity & Child Healthcare Hospital. There, we were warmly received by Dr Liu, a ICOE trainer and director of the Institute for Maternal and Paediatric Medical Training Centre. The second ever TOT for ICOE China started the same afternoon. Dr Tang emphasized medical education, adult learning techniques, and the ICOE trainer’s DNA—focused on giving, dedication, and continuous learning. She hopes this approach spreads in China.

I was assigned the task of translating Mr Baskaren’s lecture on IT usage in ICOE teaching. This experience made me realize that direct translation was not an easy task.

On the third day, we visited the Shenzhen Health Capacity Building and Continuing Education Centre (SZCBCEC). Equipped with scenario-based simulation rooms and mannequins, it now serves as an authorized ICOE centre, promoting and implementing projects in Shenzhen.

Thereafter, the 2-day ICOE course was conducted for 16 O&G doctors, all of them were senior Obstetrics Department Directors in charge of education in their respective hospitals. They represented various regions, including Guangdong, Guangxi, Huanan, Fujian, Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai, Shanxi, Liaoning, Hebei. Additionally, we were delighted to have Professor Sim from Kaohsiung, Taiwan as well.

During the course, we partnered with Chinese trainers, Dr Jiang, Dr Yun, and Dr Yaw, who each conducted breakout sessions and who are the new Master Trainers for China. I must admit, it was a bit intimidating to conduct a session in front of these esteemed professionals. As the Chinese proverbs say, it’s like moving an axe in front of a kung fu master.

On the last day, we had a grand mega code session led by Dr Hii. This presented us with unique challenges, as many participants tended to talk simultaneously. Sometimes the trainer-student role is reversed when I had the privilege of learning from the local trainers about their extensive experiences and healthcare system; for example: practice of using Intraoperative cell salvage during postpartum haemorrhage for caesarean section.

During the feedback session, the participants expressed their appreciation for the interactive and well-planned nature of this ICOE course. The local trainers found that the ICOE curriculum effectively bridges the gap in teaching junior doctors and training residents, enhancing medical education and practice in useful ways.

Despite the tight schedule, we managed to visit to streets of Shenzhen, which were bustling with restaurants. We savoured a variety of intriguing dishes, including baby lotus, bamboo shoots, prunes, fresh dates, Cantonese cuisine, MALA hot pots, BBQ, and Dim Sum. The culinary exploration added a delightful dimension to our experience.

This journey was truly memorable for me, thanks to the wonderful team and the comfortable training centre with excellent support. Thanks to OGSM, ICOE team and China Organisers.
Certainly, sharing these sentences from the murals of the training centre is a great way to convey my thoughts. Here they are:

“Create value with stimulation. Build the future through action.”

“People who study medicine must extensively and exhaustively learn skills, be attentive and diligent, never slack off, and should not say that they have mastered all medical science just because of some unfounded hearsay.” – Sun Simiao (Tang)