The WISA NEWSLETTER Feb 2016 is now available.

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WiSA Branding

A Message from the WiSA Chair to WiSA Members and the COSECSA Family

I hope you have all started 2016 gracefully, and that you are all set for a very successful 2016.

It was a great honour to be elected the first Chair of Women in Surgery Africa –East Central and Southern Africa (WiSA-ECSA), at the just ended launch event in Malawi. As the organisation is just starting, this job will be a very challenging one. I will work very closely with the new executive members, a dynamic group of four women, to engage you in a consultative processes to allow building this organisation and planning for the future. The new executive comprises: Vice chair- Dr Agnetta Odera (Kenya) Secretary- Dr Ainhoa Costas-Chavarri (Rwanda), Treasurer- Dr Pamela Samoyo (Tanzania) Membership Officer: Dr Chiku Mpanga (Malawi).

My role as chair is not a lonesome one, I am very heavily supported by our Patron Dr Jane Fualal, who is a member of the COSECSA council. I look forward to her expertise and guidance as WiSA takes shape.

As you are aware, WiSA was successfully launched in Blantyre, Malawi, on the 2nd of December 2015. This launch event was attended by more than one hundred delegates. These included both male and female COSECSA fellows and members, International surgeons and other stakeholders. The event was graced by highly respected speakers including Dr Patricia Numann, founder of Association of Women Surgeons (USA), Ms Patricia Eadie, a Plastic Surgeon from Ireland, and Dr Jane Fualal from Uganda.

The event was attended by the President of the RCSI, Prof Declan Magee, and Prof Christopher Lavy, from the University of Oxford. They showed their support to training female surgeons by announcing two bursaries from their institutions, dedicated to WiSA members. Applications for the RCSI WiSA Bursary are now open.

We have also commenced work on the WiSA Strategic Plan 2016 – 2018 and invite you to share your input and join our consultation process (more details below).  You can participate by completing our survey or submitting recommendations to by 29 February 2016.

I look forward to the day that there is a good representation of women in surgery in East Central and Southern Africa.

I hope that you will continue to support us by constantly logging onto our website:, and following us on Twitter at #WomenInSurgeryAfrica.

Faith C Muchemwa MBChB, PhD, FCS (Plast)
WiSA Chairperson

WiSA Branding

Women in Surgery Africa Launch – Malawi – 2 Dec 2015


Women in Surgery Africa (WiSA) was officially launched at the Victoria Hotel, Blantyre, Malawi on 2 December.

WiSA is a membership group which provides support to female surgeons, surgeons in training and medical students in the 10 member countries of the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). It is endorsed by COSECSA and is a recognised sub-group of the College.


WiSA is a peer support group which assists female surgeons, trainees and medical students with an interest in surgery to actively seek out mentorship relationships. WiSA promotes, facilitates and enables women to take up leadership roles and positions in surgery. It does so by its innate ability to understand the needs of women in surgery and the challenges women surgeons and trainees face. WiSA aims to promote professional networking and encourage multi-centre collaborations. It acts as a forum for discussion of pertinent issues peculiar to, and affecting its members. WiSA is working to advance the highest standards of competence and ethical behaviour for women surgeons in a supportive collegiate environment.

To this end, WiSA offers its members the following benefits:

  • Promotion of women in surgery and women surgical leaders in the COSECSA region by establishing WiSA chapters in each COSECSA country
  • Providing opportunities for mentoring through a new WiSA Mentorship Programme
  • Scientific funding through Annual WiSA Awards and Scholarships
  • Community networking through local chapters, the annual WiSA conference and monthly communications.
  • Professional development with an annual leadership course and other valuable resources

To become a WiSA member or to learn more about membership please see our Membership page.


Dr Patricia Numann, Founding Member of the Association of Women Surgeons and Keynote Speaker at the WiSA Launch Event

Dr Miliard Derbew COSECSA President making the opening remarks at the WiSA Launch event


Over 100 People attended the WiSA Launch

Linda WiSA

Dr Linda Chokotho from Malawi wearing her WiSA scarf with pride

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Dr Pamela Somaya

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WiSA Strategic Plan 2016 – 2018


Now that WiSA has officially launched, we begin the process of formalizing our Strategic Plan for the coming two years.

Our overall objective is to promote and empower women surgeons in East, Central and Southern Africa. We have created and are proposing a list of five goals to work towards. These goals will be presented in a consultation process in order for us to hear from a variety of people, groups and organisations who are interested in and concerned about surgical training and care, global health, women’s rights and equality.
We will be reaching out shortly to get all of your feedback through different platforms. We look forward to your contributions to this process. If you would like to learn more please see our website or take the survey below before 29th February 2016.
We would love to hear from YOU!



WiSA BrandingRCSI WiSA Bursary Now Open for Applications

To mark the inauguration of WiSA, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is offering a dedicated travel grant.

This grant is aimed at encouraging and supporting female surgical trainees. The recipient is chosen based on her expressed interest in surgery, potential leadership qualities or research contributions to the field of surgery. The purpose of the bursary is to allow trainees/consultant surgeons wishing to attend a WiSA event or related conference.

The bursary is valued at USD$1000 and is intended to be a contribution to the applicant’s travel costs.

To find out more about the application process check out the WiSA Website.

Closing Date: 18 March 2016

WiSA Branding

Surgical Spotlight

Every month in this section we will highlight a WiSA member from a different member country. This month Dr Ainhoa Costas-Chavarri talked with Dr Phyllis P. Kisa from Uganda about her experiences in surgery as well as being the first COSECSA fellow to earn two fellowships by examination. 

Check out our first Surgical Spotlight interview here.