When she was eight, Hawa tripped on her way to school. A few weeks later, part of her face fell off.
No scraped knee should ever turn into a hole in a little girl’s face.
Based at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, I have carried responsibility for the health economics arm of SURG-Africa, and of its predecessor COST-Africa. A large chunk of our research was dedicated to establishing the cost of providing and scaling up district-level surgery in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. In our studies we looked at the financial costs of all types of resources used in providing surgery, irrespective of whether or not patients pay a fee.
Throughout my time at medical school I have always been interested in surgery: the impact performing surgery can have on improving quality of life, the practical nature of the discipline, and the fact that it is constantly evolving in light of favouring better outcomes for patients. It wasn’t until my transition to studies in Global Health that I discovered the realm of Global Surgery and started to comprehend the multifaceted nature of surgical service provision.
“Trinity is down on the corner.” There went a man directing me to Trinity College Dublin’s main campus at the heart of Dublin city centre. It looks historical, so beautiful, so built up but also freezing cold. These were my first impressions of Dublin and my very first experience of Europe! Before I tell you more about why I found myself in Dublin, let me tell you a bit of myself.
I remember when I told my father my new job would be as a Research Assistant for an EU commissioned project at RCSI, his pride was palpable just from the expression on his face. As an aspiring researcher who just graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I too saw this new job as a valuable first step, the opportunity you are always told about. So, I decided on a plan of action: I would follow a strict methodology, one that would yield the most objective results and therefore the best scientific data.
Human Resources for Health has just published my first scientific article about something very important in Global Surgery. I would like to tell you the story about how I got involved.
When I found the project I want to tell you about I was looking for a research assignment to work on to expand my understanding of public health. At the first meeting the principal investigator asked me how much I knew about global surgery. I remember, vividly, looking at him the same way I used to look at my biochemistry textbooks —lost and perplexed.
A 2014 World Bank study showed that sub-Saharan Africa increased the quantity and quality of its research output in the past 20 years. However, taking a deeper look at the numbers, we find out that sub-Saharan Africa produces less than 1% of the published world’s research. But, why?
Dr Benson Harrison at RCSI main building in Dublin. Photo: RCSI_COSECSA.
On the 14th of February, Dr Benson Harrison Lyimo, general surgeon at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre in Tanzania, received the Gerald O’Sullivan medal, awarded to the top of the class of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) Fellowship exams.
Behind every academic paper there is a story. A story that motivates people to want to know more about, and better understand a specific reality. SURG-Africa is working with Dr Bip Nandi and his team on their study on how consent forms for surgical procedures are understood by patients in Malawi. Taking advantage of meeting at the 20th COSECSA Scientific Conference & AGM last December in Kampala, we decided to ask him a few questions about his research so far.
When people asked my mum what I was doing for a living, she had serious problems answering. It has been always a bit like this; it is nothing new. The title Communication Specialist is so broad and, at the same time, so vague, that for someone flirting with her 70's, it requires a massive effort to understand its meaning.