- This event has passed.
New Women in Surgery Group Officially Launched in Malawi
December 2, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Victoria Hotel, 2 December 2015
Today over 100 representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda convened at the Victoria Hotel in Blantyre, Malawi to celebrate the inauguration of Women in Surgery Africa (WiSA).
WiSA is an advocacy and mentorship group which provides support to female surgeons, surgical trainees and medical students working in the East, Central and Southern Africa. WiSA seeks to inspire, encourage and empower women surgeons in Africa to realise their professional and personal goals.
WiSA was created under the auspices of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), which is the second largest surgical training college is Sub-Saharan Africa. It is supported by Irish Aid, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, UKAID and the University of Oxford.
Leadership and Mentorship
Speaking at the WiSA launch, the incoming President and gender focal person Prof Miliard Derbew stated: “COSECSA is delighted to endorse Women in Surgery Africa and recognises the importance of advocating for and effectively supporting female surgeons. This is the first group of its kind in Africa and constitutes a unique opportunity for surgery in the region. WiSA will promote, facilitate and enable women to take up leadership roles and positions in surgery.”
WiSA seeks to advance the professonal growth and development for women surgeons through dedicated networking events and grant opportunities for its Members. It offers a unique Mentorship Programme which links up female surgeons around the world. COSECSA Council Member Dr Jane Faulal stated: “The WiSA Mentorship Programme will enhance and facilitate interaction among women surgeons through a global network. This will create a supportive environment which will allow female surgeons to achieve the highest standards of competence and excel in their field.”
Mr Declan Magee, President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) “RCSI is a long-term partner of COSECSA and a proud supporter of WiSA. WiSA is a unique initiative which will undoubtedly help empower future generations of leaders. We wish WiSA every success and anticipate that many surgeons in Ireland will engage with their peers in Africa through this organisation. We look forward to continued partnership and collaboration with COSECSA and WiSA over the coming years.”
Surgeon Workforce Shortage
Africa is currently facing a serious shortfall of surgeons. The World Health Organisation and Lancet Commission on Global Surgery recognise that effective engagement and support for female surgeons is critical to addressing the workforce shortage and ultimately improving patient outcomes.
There are currently 108 female surgeons working across 10 countries in East, Central and Southern Africa, representing only 7% of the existing surgical workforce. More women are now opting for a career in surgery and 14% of COSECSA surgical trainees are female.
Dr Patricia Numann, who established the Association of Women Surgeons in the United States in 1981, stated in her Keynote Address : “Supporting WISA and women surgeons is critical as women are the greatest under-utilised resource in surgery. Increasing the number of women surgeons will go a long way to increasing the surgical workforce and improving access to surgical care. To achieve this, there must be a proactive approach by which WISA can champion women surgeons.”
WiSA will support and enable more women to successfully enter the field of surgery and bolster the surgical workforce in Africa. Increased numbers of female surgeons will ultimately save lives and provide access to surgery for those who need it most.
Twitter: @womensurgafrica #womeninsurgeryafrica
Malawi Organising Committee
College of Surgeons in East Central and Southern Africa