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CSI and the College of Surgeons of East,
Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA)
established a Collaboration Programme in
2007, supported by Irish Aid, with the aim of
increasing the provision of quality, essential
surgical and emergency care in the COSECSA region.
The collaboration originated from the initiative of the
late Professor Gerry O'Sullivan, former President of
RCSI, and Professor Krikor Erzingatsian, former President
and current Registrar of COSECSA (Class of 1969), who
completed his Fellowship of RCSI in the same year as
Professor O'Sullivan.
COSECSA is the second largest surgical training institution
in sub-Saharan Africa and provides standardised surgical
training in 10 countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi,
Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Zambia
and Zimbabwe. To date, 128 surgeons have graduated from
the COSECSA programme and more than 300 are now
currently in training.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest ratio of surgical disability
adjusted life years, which is a measure of the overall disease
burden, and the highest rate of obstetrical complications in
the world. However, current estimates suggest that 11 per
cent of global disease burden is due to conditions that can
be treated by surgery.
Until recently, surgery was not considered as part of the
health strategy in low-income countries because it was
considered to be unaffordable. This is now changing and
surgery is being increasingly recognised as an integral
part of primary healthcare and a cost-effective method of
responding to health challenges in countries where resources
are scarce.
In the COSECSA region, the ratio of qualified surgeons to
the population is one per 190,000 people compared to
approximately one per 2,800 in the UK.
In 2014, RCSI's collaboration programme with COSECSA
continued to grow its impact and range of activities,
enabling COSECSA to respond to the dire lack of surgical
manpower across its 10 member countries. A wide variety of
RCSI staff contribute to this collaboration in areas as diverse
as finance, IT, marketing, strategic planning, examinations
and more. Irish Aid recently agreed an extension of their
support for the programme until 2017.
RCSI and COSECSA combat
surgical crisis in sub-Saharan Africa
RCSI collaboration programme addresses surgical manpower
crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa
Mr Declan Magee, RCSI President; Mr Joe Costello, former Minister of State for Trade and Development; and
Mr Francis Kaikumba, CEO of COSECSA at the launch of a Mobile Surgical Skills Unit.