RCSI Global Surgery

RCSI and College of Surgeons in Africa deliver sustainable solution to global surgery crisis

  • International
  • Society

Over 10 years ago, RCSI partnered with the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) with the aim of addressing the global surgery crisis and improving healthcare outcomes for patients in Africa.

Five billion people globally lack access to safe, affordable and timely surgical and anaesthesia care. Every year, it is estimated that 143 million necessary surgical procedures do not get performed. The crisis is most acute in sub-Saharan Africa where 93% of the population is unable to access surgery when they need it.

With RCSI's support, COSECSA has graduated over 500 fully trained surgeons across 20 countries since 2007. Over 90% of these surgeons have been retained and are practicing in their home countries, addressing the needs of vulnerable patients.

With over 300,000 surgeries recorded by trainees during their training period alone, the impact on patients is clear. These surgeons are significantly more likely to stay and eventually become trainers for the next generation of surgical graduates.

In 2019, the RCSI collaboration was extended to include the College of Anaesthesiologists of Ireland and the College of Anaesthesiologists of East, Central and Southern Africa to support the rollout of anaesthesiology collegiate training. The first exam was held in December 2020, with 19 newly-qualified anaesthesiologists graduating.

At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, COSECSA was ideally placed to manage the challenge of online learning, as it had already established a "college without walls" model of e-learning as a vital element of its curriculum delivery. In addition, changes were made to enable increased online delivery and blended exams, resulting in the successful graduation of 190 students and training for over 200 local and international examiners.

The partnership between RCSI and COSECSA is part of RCSI's commitment to improving global healthcare and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through strategic global partnerships, RCSI aims to accelerate change and to provide solutions to the surgical deficit impacting low- and middle-income countries.

Key to RCSI's commitment to improving the delivery of healthcare for those in less wealthy countries has been the establishment of the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery. The Institute currently reaches patients and surgical teams in over forty countries through its education, research and training programmes.

The United Nations has developed its SDGs as an urgent call for action by all countries to end poverty and other deprivation through a global partnership to improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth. As a signatory to the SDG Accord, RCSI is committed to integrating the SDGs into communities through this education, research and university operations.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.