With the WSPCCA’s focus on training and research, we’ve been blessed with funding from Vodacom foundation, Edwards Lifescience Foundation and Medtronic Foundation that has enabled us to bring in the first two surgeons to undergo training in
paediatric cardiac surgery.
Dr. Johan Brink, from the University of the Free State and Dr. Frank Edwin from Ghana have joined the cardiac unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital and will be shadowing Dr. Kinsley closely for the next 24 months.
This coincides closely with the cardiac unit being earmarked as an accredited training centre by the Health Professionals’ Council of South Africa.
According to Dr. Kinsley, while service delivery remains key at the hospital, there is a critical need to provide high quality paediatric cardiothoracic surgery training in SA, and even more so in the rest of Africa.
“It’s all about creating capability in Africa,” says Dr. Kinsley. “And our facility certainly cannot be denied to the people who are seeking the training.”
Dr. Edwin, who is a qualified cardiothoracic surgeon from Ghana, says that in his country alone, there are only seven of these surgeons out of a population of 22 million.
“Out of the 16 countries that make up Western Africa, only four are adequately equipped for cardio
thoracic surgery, which puts additional strain on the medical resources of the region,” he says.
“And the sad truth is that even though the vast majority of congenital heart disorders can be treated effectively, a lack of resources sees a mortality rate of close to 100% amongst children who do not get access to surgery in time. This is what has driven me to seek out the training, which I can hopefully use to train additional surgeons back in Ghana.”
Dr. Brink, who studied under a long-time colleague of Dr. Kinsely’s— Prof. Francis Smit— says that there is an equally critical need in SA for high-quality paediatric cardiac surgery.
“It takes upwards of 15 years to super specialise and with our facility in Bloemfontein handling the
second largest number of paediatric cardiac cases in the country, resources are a challenge.”
We’re very excited to have Drs. Edwin and Brink with us and we look forward to the great work that they are going to do both here at the WSPCCA and back home, where they will no doubt make a huge
difference in many lives.