Centre for Global Surgery
Stellenbosch University's Centre for Global Surgery & Gift of the Givers Foundation
Preparedness for Humanitarian Disasters Conference
27-28th May 2023, Cape Town, South Africa
This inaugural conference focused on preparation for humanitarian disasters through a journey of the lived experiences of Gift of the Givers (GOTG), the largest African disaster response team with over 3 decades of experience providing assistance to over 45 countries. There were over 400 attendees hailing from all over South Africa and even beyond. Topics covered included armed conflict, natural disasters such as the recent earthquakes in Turkey, COVID and other international and domestic crises. Responses ranged from the medical care that requires specialists suddenly adapting to limited resources in urgent settings, to the gargantuan logistics involved in providing for everything needed in a crisis, to the care for the mental health of team members who have borne witness to unimaginable suffering. Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder and chairman of the GOTG and a South African hero, emphasised humanitarianism or service to humankind and their rapid support to all people in need, irrespective of race, religion, or creed. We look forward to our increased impact on improving surgical care through this and other similar collaborations.
Preparedness for Humanitarian Disaster Conference in Cape Town, South Africa
Stellenbosch University (Centre for Global Surgery) and Gift of the Givers are offering an exclusive weekend conference on Preparing for Humanitarian Disasters open to anyone in the public and medical professionals interested in knowing what it is like to work in a humanitarian mission. Topics covered will include Search and Rescue, Surgery, Mental Health, Paediatrics, Covid-19, Hostage Negotiation, and Logistics and Supply amongst others. Gift of the Givers team members share their first-hand experiences from over 20 years in the field. Featuring 11-time honorary doctorate recipient, GoG CEO, Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman.
The conference will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 27-28 May 2023
Equi-injury Investigator Meeting Cape Town
The first investigator Equi-Injury meeting held from the 1st to the 3rd of November 2022 in Cape Town had participants from the collaborating countries - South Africa, Rwanda, Pakistan, Ghana and USA. The Equi-Injury grant funded by the United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Care Research aims to improve equitable access to quality injury care in South Africa, Rwanda, Pakistan and Ghana. During the 3- day meeting, the team worked on the theory of change for the project, discussed the multi-criteria decision analysis, the different aspects of community engagement and involvement of the partner teams in the project, the capacity exchange process and the requirements and opportunities embedded in the project. The meeting was spiced with role plays by the participants and packed with collaborative opportunities, fun and quality research.
Strengthening grassroots advocacy and rural surgical care to achieve equitable access
28th-29th September 2022, Cape Town, South Africa
The first day of the 2-day AfroSurg3 conference focused on
Surgical Care in Rural Africa and The Role of the Community and the Patient in Improving Rural Surgery. The second day focused
Identifying and understanding communities to include in surgical networks and Communities as change agents in surgical policymaking as it relates to their countries. In summary, Rural surgery needs increased retention strategies for the surgical workforce, training of non-specialist cadres and collaboration between the district, regional, and tertiary hospitals. We also need grassroots advocacy to increase the effectiveness of global surgery as a global health network. Stakeholders are pillars in lobbying effectively for better access to surgical care through national and international political awareness, funding, policy change and implementation.
- Focus on prevention and screening at the community level
- Expand the rural surgical workforce by using non-specialists
- Promote adequate infrastructure and human resources for rural hospitals
- Adopt the use of telemedicine for better inter-hospital communication and training
- Improve grassroots advocacy and community engagement
Diabetes management community workshop
South Africa has a high prevalence of diabetes mellitus. Lower limb amputation is a devastating complication of diabetes, associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Patients' education and knowledge are crucial for the self-management of diabetes in order to achieve better health outcomes. Findings from our research showed a significant lack of knowledge of diabetes and its management as well as the measures of preventing complications, specifically lower limb amputation in rural Eastern Cape. In response, a training programme on diabetes management and foot examination was organised for 11 community care providers in rural Eastern Cape, in collaboration with an NGO, One to One Africa. The training took place from 13th to 14th January 2022, facilitated by an experienced diabetes educator and Dr Owolabi, the project lead. It is anticipated that these few trainees will translate the knowledge acquired to the other community care providers in their organization. Lastly, the community care providers are expected to incorporate these diabetes management teachings during their usual home visits to the community members. Over time, we hope to track the impact of the training on the level of diabetes knowledge and self-care abilities of the community members and possibly on the healthcare system in terms of complications screenings and detection rate.
AfroSurg Collaboration: A Zimbabwean and South African capacity building seminar
The Centre hosted a 3-day research capacity building session with Dr. Shingai Nyaguse-Chiurunge, an anaesthetist and policy advocate for surgery in Zimbabwe. Dr. Nyaguse-Chiurunge was a critical member of a team in Zimbabwe that assessed surgical capacity in public sector hospitals nationally. The goal of the seminar was to strengthen her research capacity. Over the course of three days, several topics were recovered such as data analysis, interpretation of results, journal article presentation and writing, and reference management. These critical skills are much needed in order to disseminate knowledge at the global level, such as through publication in peer-reviewed journal articles. The results from this research are also intended to inform life-saving surgical capacity strengthening initiatives in Zimbabwe. The collaborative session further strengthened ties between CGS and the Zimbabwean National Surgical, Obstetric, and Anaesthesia Plan (NSOAP) task team. Enhancing partnerships in the Southern African region will contribute towards improving surgical care for all, an important component of universal health coverage.
AfroSurg 2 conference
AfroSurg2 which was held May 4-5, 2021 in Cape Town focused on
improving surgical care in Southern Africa through district hospital (DH) Strengthening. The first day focused on South Africa with an opening by the chief operating officer of the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health, Dr. Saadiq Kariem, who emphasised the importance of surgical care in the Western Cape followed by presentations on DH surgical capacity, telemedicine DH solutions, South Africa NSOAP progress, the College of Medicine of South Africa support for DH surgical training, family physicians and their role in DH surgery.
The second day focused on the Southern African region. Five of six AfroSurg countries conducted some mapping of available surgical resources and most have shown a significant lack of human and physical resources for surgical care. A health system strengthening talk emphasised the need to improve surgical services within the larger context of the larger health system and to consider the WHO building blocks of governance, health workforce, service delivery, health information systems, access to essential medicines and financing.
The AfroSurg collaborative has been highly successful at networking surgical stakeholders to improve surgical care in Southern Africa. Baseline data on DH surgical capacity from all countries has been partially collected but more complete information is needed in order to lobby policymakers to improve decentralised service delivery. AfroSurg has several publications but more research capacity building is needed for its members.
AfroSurg Conference: “AfroSurg: A Network to Improve Equitable Access to Safe and Timely Surgical Care in Southern Africa
The initial AfroSurg Networking conference was held on the 16-17th of January 2020, at Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference representatives consisted of 44 key stakeholders from Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom including surgeons across various fields, anesthesiologists, anthropologists, rural doctors, medical students, public health specialists and research fellows.
The overarching goal of the conference was to establish the network as a collaborative partnership to improve surgical care in the southern African region.
By identifying gaps in knowledge and prioritising research directions, the network will for the first time create regional recommendations for stronger surgical systems an important component of universal health coverage.
We offer short term research opportunities for undergraduates and medical students. Please contact us for more information.
We offer 1-2-year research fellowships and post-doctoral positions. We welcome all candidates interested in global surgery, including surgical post-graduates and global health researchers. Please contact us for more information.
International Clinical Clerkship
For those interested in a clinical rotation at Tygerberg Academic Hospital, please contact:
Prof. Elmin Steyn, Head of the Division of General Surgery
+27 21 938 9567