Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has courted local medical doctors to enroll in post-graduate surgical training programmes being offered in different educational institutions to bridge the gap and improve service delivery.
The minister said this yesterday when she presided over the first-ever graduation of doctors in general surgery at Malamulo Adventist Hospital at Makwasa in Thyolo under the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (Paacs) programme.
“The number of surgeons per capita in many African countries, including Malawi, is extremely low. I am informed that per population of 100 000 residents, Africa has the lowest numbers of specialist surgeons at 0.5 per 100 000 compared to 36.2 per 100 000 in Europe,” she said.
Chiponda cited limited training opportunities, low investment in capacity building and, to some extent, migration as some of the factors contributing to the worrisome trend.
She said: “It is, therefore, not surprising that access to specialist surgical care is extremely low in many parts of Sub Sahara Africa.”
Chiponda said she sees the programme fulfilling the aspirations of the country as spelt out in the health sector strategic plan.
She described the surgical training programme offered at Malamulo Adventist Hospital as a great milestone for the country.
The first graduates of the programme are Etta-Ayum Constance Ndum from Cameroon and De Lijalem Taye Garba from Ethiopia; hence, the minister asked Malawian doctors to enroll for the same.
The programme is spread over five years and offers post-graduate physician residence training.
In his remarks, Seventh Adventist Church president Pastor Frackson Kuyama reaffirmed the church’s commitment in complementing government’s efforts in the education and health sector.
Besides running several major hospitals, the Seventh Day Adventist Church also runs schools, including Malawi Adventist University.