The Impact of African-trained Neurosurgeons on sub-Saharan Africa



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The Impact of African-trained Neurosurgeons on sub-Saharan Africa

Journaljournal of neurosurgery
Publication date – Mar – 2020
Authors – Claire Karekezi , Abdeslam El Khamlichi , Abdessamad El Ouahabi , Najia El Abbadi , Semevo Alidegnon Ahokpossi , Kodjo Mensah Hobli Ahanogbe , Ibrahima Berete , Soueilem Mohamed Bouya , Oumar Coulibaly , Ibrahim Dao , Ben Ousmanou Djoubairou , Agbeko Achille Komlan Doleagbenou , Komi Prosper Egu, Hugues Brieux Ekouele Mbaki , Sinclair Brice Kinata-Bambino, Laminou Mahamane Habibou , Adio Nabil Mousse , Trésor Ngamasata , Jeff Ntalaja , Justin Onen, Kisito Quenum , Diawara Seylan , Youssouf Sogoba , Franco Servadei , Isabelle M Germano
Keywordssub-Saharan Africa; neurosurgery training; global neurosurgery; low- and middle-income countries; LMIC
Open access – Yes
SpecialityNeurosurgery, Surgical education
World region Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Western Africa

Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on May 29, 2020 at 10:51 am

Objective: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) represents 17% of the world’s land, 14% of the population, and 1% of the gross domestic product. Previous reports have indicated that 81/500 African neurosurgeons (16.2%) worked in SSA-i.e., 1 neurosurgeon per 6 million inhabitants. Over the past decades, efforts have been made to improve neurosurgery availability in SSA. In this study, the authors provide an update by means of the polling of neurosurgeons who trained in North Africa and went back to practice in SSA.

Methods: Neurosurgeons who had full training at the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Rabat Training Center (RTC) over the past 16 years were polled with an 18-question survey focused on demographics, practice/case types, and operating room equipment availability.

Results: Data collected from all 21 (100%) WFNS RTC graduates showed that all neurosurgeons returned to work to SSA in 12 different countries, 90% working in low-income and 10% in lower-middle-income countries, defined by the World Bank as a Gross National Income per capita of ≤ US$995 and US$996-$3895, respectively. The cumulative population in the geographical areas in which they practice is 267 million, with a total of 102 neurosurgeons reported, resulting in 1 neurosurgeon per 2.62 million inhabitants. Upon return to SSA, WFNS RTC graduates were employed in public/private hospitals (62%), military hospitals (14.3%), academic centers (14.3%), and private practice (9.5%). The majority reported an even split between spine and cranial and between trauma and elective; 71% performed between 50 and more than 100 neurosurgical procedures/year. Equipment available varied across the cohort. A CT scanner was available to 86%, MRI to 38%, surgical microscope to 33%, endoscope to 19.1%, and neuronavigation to 0%. Three (14.3%) neurosurgeons had access to none of the above.

Conclusions: Neurosurgery availability in SSA has significantly improved over the past decade thanks to the dedication of senior African neurosurgeons, organizations, and volunteers who believed in forming the new neurosurgery generation in the same continent where they practice. Challenges include limited resources and the need to continue expanding efforts in local neurosurgery training and continuing medical education. Focus on affordable and low-maintenance technology is needed.

OSI Number – 20433
PMID – 32114560

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