Thousands of seriously ill people across Africa, who have no access to surgeons, will be treated thanks to a major new surgical training programme funded by London Masons. The £50,000 will help fund a programme specifically designed to develop the next generation of young surgeons in Africa, giving them access to the latest life-saving techniques, which are very common in the UK but not taught in Africa.
Currently, more than 90 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in Africa do not have access to safe and affordable surgery, resulting in an estimated 17 million deaths every year. The programme is taking place in Nigeria – which has approximately 200 million people and is the most populous country in Africa – under the leadership of Professor Robert Lane MS (Lond), FRCS (Eng), President of the International Federation of Surgical Colleges (IFSC). Professor Lane leads the surgical training courses, supported by a dedicated volunteer team of surgeons.
Professor Robert Lane, said: “We’re really grateful for this generous grant from the Freemasons. We’re already liaising with the West African College of Surgeons to discover where the need is greatest and this new funding will allow us to start planning the first part of the training programme. Thanks to the Freemasons we’re going to be able to help save many lives across the region.”
The programme will train 30 Nigerian surgeons and nurses, who in turn, will treat more than a thousand surgical patients every year across the continent. The donation will fund travel and accommodation for all the volunteer trainer surgeons, surgical training equipment, programme arrangements and administration.
Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: “Speaking as a doctor myself, I was deeply shocked to hear that 95 per cent of Africa’s population have almost zero access to surgical care. There are fewer than two surgeons for every 100,000 African people, while in the UK we have around 90 surgeons for every 100,000 British people. We are optimistic that this donation will help the surgeons to improve their knowledge and enable them to take care of the largest number of people. It’s critically important that new African surgeons and nurses are trained, and this programme is an excellent start.”