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Celebrating Women in Surgery: Professor Bankole Sanni Rouma


Professor Bankole Sanni Rouma is a Paediatric surgeon at the Teaching Hospital, Treichville, Ivory Coast. We recently installed a dedicated children's Operating Room at her hospital in partnership with Smile Train. 

To celebrate International Women's Day 2022, we profiled remarkable women in surgery who are an inspiration, who break barriers, and who are at the top of their field. 

Women are extremely underrepresented in surgery and anaesthesia departments across the globe. How many women do you usually work with in your unit/department? 

In my unit, I work with four women as paediatric surgeons (two surgeons and two trainees). Additionally, I work with 10 nurses. 

What are some of the challenges, if any, you’ve experienced as a female surgeon?   

As a woman, it’s a big challenge balancing time you spend in hospital and for your family. You need to find a middle line. Your family needs you too. You have to be very organized.  The other challenges are on paediatric surgery infrastructure, equipment, training and research. We also experience every day the poverty of the patients who cannot afford to pay the operations fees.

What advice would you give to your younger self when you started your medical career/ studies?

Be sure that you love children’s surgery. You’ll also need to work a lot but also find a middle ground between you work and your family. You also just must work hard like if you want to be a good surgeon. 

What motivates you to keep on working in your field? 

My motivation comes from the happiness of the child and his family after recovery. Their kindness of children’s parents and their prayers for me. 

Do you have a female role model in your field?   

My role model is Professor Claire Nihoul Feketé, she’s a paediatric surgeon in Paris at Children Hospital Necker Enfant Malade. She is a great model for many women in children surgery.

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