What is WiSA?
WiSA is a membership group which provides support to female surgeons, surgeons in training and medical students in the 14 member countries of the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). It was established in 2015 and is endorsed by COSECSA and is a recognised sub-group of the College.
Why is WiSA important?
According to the findings of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery (2015), Africa is facing a surgical workforce crisis. On all continents, women have been underrepresented in the surgical field, even in countries where undergraduate training has achieved a balance between the genders. Indeed, as more women are recruited in medical schools, reduced female interest and participation in surgery may eventually lead to a reduced surgical workforce. WiSA works to support and enable more women to successfully enter the field of surgery and in turn bolster the surgical workforce in Africa.
The overall aim of this WiSA is to facilitate and support mentorship for women in surgical training and for undergraduates in medical schools. Research has shown that mentorship is an important factor in the decision making process of a post-graduate career. It is recognised that the process of choosing a career in surgery in a number of cases starts in the undergraduate or internship years. This group, in addition to increasing the mentorship base, seeks to promote collaborations for teaching and research across the 14 COSECSA countries and also facilitate international partnerships.