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New Partnership Will Expand Malawian Surgical Initiative

March 22, 2018
School of Medicine

The Malawian Surgical Initiative, a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Surgery, Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, and the Malawi College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi, has secured a partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Scotland, which will fund the training of additional Malawian surgeons.

The goal of the Malawian Surgical Initiative is to train Malawians in country so that they are more likely to stay and practice there. In the past, the Malawian government has paid for surgical trainees to go to South Africa or Europe to receive their training. Many never returned home.

So far, the Malawian Surgical Initiative has trained 16 Malawian residents, with eight currently in various stages of the five-year program.

The Malawian Surgical Initiative supports the training of three surgeons per year, but a newly established partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh will fund the training of an additional resident each year.

“In the United States, it’s easy to say that training one more surgeon per year is merely a drop in the bucket, but in Malawi, training an additional surgeon per year really changes things,” said Anthony Charles, head of the Malawian Surgical Initiative. “Looking forward 20 years, this partnership will allow for 15 additional surgeons to be working in Malawi, with five more still in training. That’s a game changer for the country.”

Malawi, a country of more than 18 million people, currently has less than 50 trained surgeons.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is the oldest and largest of the UK’s surgical royal colleges, boasting more than 25,000 surgeons practicing in more than 100 countries.

In 2005, the governments of Scotland and Malawi entered a cooperation agreement designed for the mutual benefit of each country. When the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh set out to expand its work in global surgery, Malawi was a natural fit. Recognizing Carolina’s extensive presence in the country, the Royal College was interested in finding opportunities for collaboration.

Read more on the School of Medicine website.

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