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By, Godfrey Sama Philipo, M.D., MPH

COSECSA, under the support from the RCSI/COSECSA Collaboration Programme (CP) and AO Alliance, has started to implement a Global Surgery Research Mentorship Programme to strengthen research capacity among COSECSA trainees. This program will prepare COSECSA trainees to be future Global Surgery researchers and enable them to undertake longer term and more structured Research Training programs which focus on addressing the burden of surgical diseases in the region and globally, for evidence- based policy making.

Gladly, the selection process has been completed and we are amazed by the interest and efforts put by surgical trainees to develop evidence in various Global Surgery topics of need in our region. Below is the data on the diversity of applicants and topics these trainees have put together.

Number of Applications

A total of 61 applications from all over the ECSA region was received. 45 were male and 16 were female at various level of COSECSA training. Trainees had a variety of areas of study interests, majority are of high burden in the region like trauma and others are relatively neglected areas of research, like cleft lip studies.

Applicants Country of Training

Applications were received from 9 COSECSA Member countries; Ethiopia (7), Kenya (8), Malawi (13), Rwanda (2), Sudan (1), Tanzania (9), Uganda (9), Zambia (5), Zimbabwe (6) and 1 from COSECSA Satellite country Niger (1). Looking at the map above, it is great to see an outstanding coverage of more than 60% of COSECSA countries. This reflects the relevance to this initiative and the justification of the need and interest in the region. COSECSA through its Partners is committed to continue supporting the growth of this program and invites more partners to this noble cause in the surgical field.

Training Program and Level of training

Majority of trainees were from General Surgery training pathway, and majority in the Fellowship program. We also received a number of great applications from non-trainee surgeons. This shows a research interest not only among trainees but also fellows, and we hope that in the future we can have fellows, who are the mentors of these trainees, can be supported to implement research projects.

We would like to congratulate 3 applicants from Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, who have been awarded with funding support of $3,000 to implement their research projects in their selected field of global surgery.

Dr. Kabelele Sipalo is a Zambian, first year Neurosurgery Resident at the University Teaching Hospital and a first year COSECSA MCS Trainee. She completed her medical training at Ryazan Medical University in Russia in 2019 and completed her internship in 2021 at St. Francis Mission Hospital in Katete, Eastern Province, Zambia. Since beginning her neurosurgery program at the University Teaching hospital, she has worked as part of a Departmental research team responsible for data collection and storage. She has a passion for dissemination of medical information, which she achieves primarily through a YouTube Channel (Link) on which she creates content on health-related topics. Neurosurgery is in its infancy in Zambia, through the COSECSA Global Surgery Research Program, she wishes to work hand in hand with other talented young professionals to grow and strengthen surgical research as it pertains to neurosurgery in Zambia through projects spear headed by young local surgeons which will improve patient outcomes.

Dr Sipalo’s title is: “Investigating the incidence of Head injuries in Eastern Province, Zambia and surgical Outcomes”

Dr Mackson Mwaungulu, is a first year COSECSA MCS trainee based at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Malawi). He holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MBBS) from the University of Malawi, College of Medicine (Currently Kamuzu University of Health Sciences). He did his internship at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and later worked at QECH as senior medical officer for 5 months before being posted to Zomba Central Mental Hospital (Malawi). His passion is to become an Orthopedics and Trauma Surgeon. He has received several trainings including Orthopedics and Trauma short courses organized by AO Alliance Foundation in Blantyre Malawi on Non-operative Fracture Management and was awarded as second best candidate of 2019. He conducted his undergraduate research on Assessment of coverage of supplementary feeding program among children with moderate acute malnutrition aged 6-59 months funded by Prof Kenneth Maleta Research Group (Malawi).

With support from COSECSA Global Surgery Research Program he hopes for more mentorship to be able to contribute Orthopedics and Trauma evidence.

Dr Mwaungulu’s title is: “Assessment of Orthopedic Injury Pattern among Motorcycle Trauma Patients Admitted at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital”

Dr Masawa K. Nyamuryekung’e, is a Tanzanian COSECSA FCS in Paediatric surgery at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es salaam. He holds a Doctor of Medicine and a Master of Medicine in General Surgery. He previously worked as a General Surgeon, an instructor in a Master of Medicine in general Surgery program, and a resident dissertation supervisor. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and served as a peer-reviewer for journals. From the COSECSA Global Surgery Research Program, he hopes to strengthen his Clinical Research skills, gain global surgical perspective on patient care, better understand the challenges to safe surgical care and appreciate possible opportunities for sustainable context relevant interventions to improve neonatal surgical outcomes in Tanzania. He believes that this will be the first step toward being a global surgical practitioner.

Dr Masawa’s title is: “In-hospital outcomes of infants with esophageal atresia and trachea-esophageal fistula at a tertiary referral hospital in Tanzania”

Supply and demand

We have noted a high interest in global surgery research among COSECSA Membership and Fellowship trainees. Hence this program has a potential to inform local policies in identifying evidence-based solutions. There is however still limited funding to support our trainees. Out of 61 applications, we were able to support only 3 trainees. As we continue to implement this program, additional research funding will be needed. COSECSA will continue to work with partners to ensure that research is prioritized. We also hope to continue providing support to women not only to enter surgical training, but also start some small research fund under this program only for women to build their research capacity.

COSECSA is grateful for the support and partnership with AO Alliance and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) for supporting this first cohort of trainees to undertake mentored research.

If any partners would like to join and ensure that this program is successful by funding a number of COSECSA trainees and fellows to undertake Global Surgery Research please feel free to reach out to Dr Godfrey Sama Philipo, Research and Patient Outcomes Coordinator at:

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