Since inception, our aim at eoSurgical has been to improve surgical training worldwide. As part of this goal, in 2018 we partnered with the University of Edinburgh’s award-winning MSc in Surgical Sciences: the Edinburgh Surgical Sciences Qualification (ESSQ). This is a distance learning program delivered jointly by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh. We fund a scholarship open to a surgical trainee from a less economically developed country.
Now firmly established on the program, we took some time to catch up with the current recipient of the eoSurgical ESSQ scholarship, Munahimbala Hamweemba, who is based in Lusaka.
eoSurgical: We’re delighted to be supporting your participation in the ESSQ. What is your current stage of training and how are you finding the program so far?
Munahimbala: I am a 2nd year Orthopaedics and Trauma trainee based at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. I have enjoyed the ESSQ immensely so far and it has been of great help. I especially noticed this during my end of 1st year basic surgical science exams here where I scored in the top percentile!
eoSurgical: Congratulations – we too aim for excellence! Has any aspect been particularly useful so far?
Munahimbala: The ESSQ has given me a firm grounding of basic science knowledge and have found it easier to build new knowledge which is more than I expected. I embarked on the ESSQ programme with an academic career in mind as I learnt during my undergraduate years that I found enjoyment in teaching my peers.
eoSurgical: What does the future hold, after completion of the Masters?
Munahimbala: For the future, I intend to pursue a fellowship in orthopaedic spine surgery - hopefully in the UK - which I'm fully aware is quite competitive. Hopefully, the ESSQ and MRCS (to sit next year) will improve my odds.
eoSurgical: How are surgery and surgical training changing for you locally, in Zambia?
Munahimbala: Zambian surgical training is making significant strides with the recent introduction of Neurosurgery, Opthalmology and ENT specialities though sub-specialisation for Orthopaedics and General surgery are lacking.
Collaborations like the ESSQ are proving invaluable in low and middle income countries like Zambia which still suffer a huge surgical disease burden, mainly due to the astronomical patient-to-doctor ratio, by adding quality to the training of surgical trainees.
The future of Zambian surgery is very bright! We are scoring a number of firsts, the most recent being a kidney transplant done at the University Teaching Hospital(UTH). Zambia is about to implement for the first time a National social health insurance programme in an effort to attain universal health coverage. This will see improvements in the quality and coverage of surgical services for the Zambian population which sounds very exciting!
eoSurgical: Good luck with the rest of the program and we look forward to hearing what the future holds! We’re delighted to be playing a small role in helping your training.
The eoSurgical Team