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Forty new paediatric surgery scholarships in Africa with Smile Train


We are delighted to announce that we will support the training and education of 40 paediatric surgeons across Africa in partnership with Smile Train, the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

The scholarships, which support recipients for a duration of three to six years depending on the course of study, have already welcomed candidates from South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Liberia and Tanzania, with additional candidates expected to join the programme from Lesotho, Eswatini and Sierra Leone. 

Worldwide, a severe shortage in the surgical workforce contributes to limited access to safe, affordable, and timely surgical care for an estimated five billion people. At KidsOR we believe in building sustainable surgical capacity, and ensuring local surgeons have the right knowledge and tools to care for their nation’s children.

Rosemary Mugwe, Africa Director of KidsOR, added:

“Through scholarships, we seek to find the gaps and identify the best ways to support junior doctors through their studies with resources to help drive the quality, skill sets and confidence of new graduates. We want to help strengthen local workforces to create sustainable healthcare systems.”

The impact of these scholarships is clear

Many of the scholars participating in this surgical training programme come from countries where there is currently no dedicated paediatric surgeon, such as Burundi, Eswatini, Liberia, Lesotho and South Sudan. 

Two general surgeons, Dr Alliance Niyukuri and Dr Carlos Nsengiyumva, who are currently enrolled in the programme, will be the very first paediatric surgeons in the whole country of Burundi.

Dr. Alicia Massenga, surgical trainee graduate

Dr. Alicia Massenga, surgical trainee graduate

Dr. Alicia Messenga is the first scholar to graduate from our very own surgical traineeship programme at KidsOR. She is based at Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania, and said: “Successful completion of my studies has benefitted our community as paediatric patients get the specialist care they need. As BMC is also a university teaching hospital, surgical students get exposure to paediatric surgery now that we have a paediatric surgery unit in the hospital thanks to KidsOR and Smile Train.”

A growing partnership between KidsOR and Smile Train

Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania

Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania

Through funding from Smile Train, we are also implementing the remodelling of Operating Rooms in 23 hospitals across 18 countries over the next five years. 

We have successfully delivered state-of-the-art paediatric theatres at Bugando Medical Centre, (Mwanza, Tanzania); University Hospital Medical Centre (Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire); Armed Forces Specialist Hospital (Kano, Nigeria) and Bethesda Hospital (Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo).

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