ASA Members Marcel Durieux, M.D. and Paul De Marco, M.D. head to Rwanda: improving health through education

(March 4, 2014) 

Leaving on March 7, Marcel Durieux, M.D., Ph.D., ASA physician anesthesiologist, professor of anesthesia and neurological surgery, department of anesthesiology, University of Virginia School of Medicine and Paul De Marco, M.D., anesthesia resident, University of Virginia School of Medicine will teach neuroanesthesia at the two teaching hospitals of the National University of Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda as part of ASA’s GHO program for the next month. Neuroanesthesia is a subset of anesthesiology for such neurosurgical procedures as brain tumor removal and the removal of blood clots after head trauma.

Drs. Durieux and De Marco will be teaching members of the anesthesia care team at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Kigali (CHUK) and CHUB (in Butare) about providing anesthesia for neurosurgical procedures, which require tight control of blood pressure, breathing and pressure inside the skull. By controlling these variables, the physician anesthesiologist can lower the pressure on the brain substantially, improving the working conditions for the surgeon. Additionally, Dr. Durieux will train residents how to care for patients arriving with severe head injury and other emergencies that can arise such as cardiac arrest scenarios.

“In many resource-poor countries, the number of clinical specialists is so low that even if qualified students, adequate facilities, and appropriate materials are present, education still may not occur, simply because there are no teachers,” said Dr. Durieux. “I like teaching, and being able to do it in a setting where the need is so great is particularly satisfying. In many east African countries, there is less than one physician per 10,000 people.”

The program hosts a Monday academic day with a morning report where an anesthesia resident will discuss a few challenging cases planned for the day. After his or her presentation, the rest of the care team identifies the anesthetic considerations and proposes an anesthetic plan. This is followed by lectures, case-based learning and simulation sessions provided by the ASA members. 

The GHO program, in partnership with the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation, has worked in Rwanda since 2006 to build and strengthen the medical teaching capacity in Rwanda. The goal is to build capacity for anesthesia training in Rwanda so that, over time, there will be enough local staff physician anesthesiologists to run the program with minimal international support. This year additional focus will target the education of anesthesia technicians, the most common anesthesia care providers across Rwanda.


Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Join the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM 2014 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES2014.



American Society of Anesthesiologists

About ASA: The American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational, research and scientific association of physicians organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient. Since its founding in 1905, the Society's achievements have made it an important voice in American Medicine and the foremost advocate for all patients who require anesthesia or relief from pain.