Scaling Safe Surgery for District and Rural Populations in Africa (SURG-Africa), RCSI’s latest Horizon 2020 Project, was hot off the blocks with a trip to Ethiopia and Tanzania at the end of January. The SURG-Africa team (including Prof Ruairi Brugha, Dr Jakub Gajewski and Mary Scholl of RCSI) attended and presented at the Pan African Association of Surgeons (PAAS) Global Surgery conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 1-3.
SURG-Africa will work under the leadership of ministries of health (MoH) in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, to develop, implement and evaluate country-specific supervision models that enable surgeon specialists be mentors of surgically active district hospital clinicians. RCSI, as well being coordinator, will oversee the quantitative research, testing the models and measuring surgical outcomes; and the qualitative implementation research, using participatory methods.
SURG-Africa’s first step was to network with the different global and regional stakeholders who have moved into the field of global surgery intervention and research, who attended the Addis Ababa event. The SURG-Africa team then travelled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to meet with the local principal investigators from the Tanzania Surgical Association, as well as senior directors and the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, who have welcomed the project.
The formal project launch is scheduled for Arusha and Moshi, Tanzania, at the end of March, where the full consortium will first meet: RCSI (project coordinator), Radboud University Medical Centre (RUMC), Netherlands; Oxford University, UK; College of Medicine (CoM), Malawi; East Central and Southern African-Health Community (ECSA-HC), College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and Tanzania Surgical Association.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (Grant Agreement no. 733391) SURG-Africa is a collaboration between: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Tanzania Surgical Association, University of Malawi (College of Medicine), Surgical Society of Zambia, Radboud University Medical Centre (Netherlands), University of Oxford (UK), East Central and Southern African-Health Community (ECSA-HC), College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), and Ministries of Health in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.