First KidsOR surgical scholars graduate
Today, ten KidsOR African scholars are graduating from the paediatric surgical training programme at the COSECSA Annual Conference, which is held in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.
The graduated surgeons, based in Ethiopia and Tanzania, will go on to use their expertise to save thousands of children’s lives in years to come, as well as help train the next generation of paediatric surgeons. This model is key to building sustainable healthcare systems and to creating capacity for children’s surgery in low- and middle- income countries.
When asked about their upcoming graduation ceremony, the graduates couldn’t contain their excitement. We caught up with the KidsOR Scholars Class of 2021 to ask them a few quick-fire questions.
Dr. Addisu Yingess, currently working in Yekatit 12 in Addis Ababa, shared how happy he is to officially become a paediatric surgeon: “I feel like I am made for it. I have got all the energy, care and compassion for children.”
Dr. Mengistu Moges recently relocated to a tertiary hospital and medical college in the Eastern part of the country, Adama Hospital Medical College.
He is currently the only dedicated paediatric surgeon in the hospital, which has a catchment population of more than 6 million people. He is currently working as an academician, assistant professor of paediatric surgery as well as a paediatric surgeon.
When asked about his busy schedule, Dr. Moges said it was wonderful: “It is really wonderful to be a pediatric surgeon in a center like ours where there is severe shortage of pediatric surgeon manpower. Even though working solo is a challenge, I am enjoying it and I am contributing much to our community.”
Dr. Alicia Massenga is currently working at Bugando Medical Centre, in Mwanza, Tanzania. Even before she officially graduated, she was appointed Head of Surgery at the same hospital.
Dr. Massenga’s sees every day how her training is helping children and medical professionals alike every day: “My presence will enable children to get access to surgical services and avoid delay in joining school. Also, BMC is a university teaching hospital. Students need to get exposure to paediatric surgery and, now that we have a paediatric surgery unit in the hospital thanks to KidsOR, they can learn in the unit.”
Dr. Semesgen Setato, from Ethiopia, was quick to share what his favourite part of the training was: “I confess I enjoyed all the years of my training but what made me pleased most is the chance I got to be examined by pediatric surgeons from different parts of the world. Having a chance to be examined by COSECSA examiners was what I enjoyed most.”
Everyone at KidsOR is extremely proud of the incredible work these paediatric surgeons have done since they joined the first Kids Operating Room surgical class last year, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve next.
Dr. Solomon Asfaw, who originally trained at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, is now working at Tibebe Ghion Specialized Hospital, Bahir Dar university, in Ethiopia.
When asked what is his favourite part of being a paediatric surgeon, he quickly responded: “My favorite moment is to see a happy and healthy child after an operation when they come for a follow-up. They always make my day bright and give me courage to work hard.”
Dr. Asfaw sees his work as essential: it will give children in rural Ethiopia the chance to be seen by a specialised surgeon (previously seen by general surgeons only); it will reduce the number of referrals to the capital, and thus reducing travel costs and waiting times; and enable the medical and surgical teams to become familiar with paediatric surgery. He hopes to influence officials to pay more attention to the key role paediatric surgery plays in healthcare provision and its nation’s children. He want them to understand how different it is from general adult surgery.
I am so proud to see the latest crop of KidsOR scholars graduate today, along with all of the others who will now take on vital roles within the medical profession.
KidsOR Co-Founder, Garreth Wood