Home » Health » Zimbabwe Needs to Train More Surgeons – Parirenyatwa

Zimbabwe needs to urgently train more plastic and reconstructive surgeons to address the manpower gap in the country’s surgical services, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said this at the opening of the first annual Swiss Eastern African Aanced Reconstructive Surgery course for re-constructive surgeons which was held at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals recently.

“There is clearly an urgent need for plastic and re-constructive surgeons on the establishment of each of the five major tertiary referral health centres in the country,” he said.

“The few Zimbabwean doctors who have trained in plastic surgery abroad have not returned to the country. Low salaries and unattractive conditions of service are probably a contributory factor. We need to address this problem and train more surgeons.”

The need for plastic and re-constructive surgeons has long been recognised in the country but lack of training programmes for surgeons has hampered the development of the surgical services.

A recent health survey, indicated that 25 percent of more than 2 800 patients seen in the outpatients department in most healthcare institutions over a period of 32 months had problems of a plastic and reconstructive surgery nature.

The healthcare units were reported to have dealt with a wide variety of conditions including burns, post burn issues, pressure sores, complex post traumatic soft tissue defects, skin malignancies and other soft tissue tumours.

Dr Parirenyatwa hailed the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) for spearheading efforts to train more surgeons to meet the growing demand for plastic and re-constructive surgery.

Health experts say COSECSA member states with a population of 450 million people have only 22 plastic surgeons, with half of these in one country, Ethiopia.

After realising these manpower constraints in the region, the college now provides a forum for the training of surgeons in most surgical specialities including plastic and re-constructive surgery.

At present, only four Zimbabwean post graduate students were training to be plastic surgeons under the COSECSA training programme.

Source : The Herald