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World Neurosurg. 2018 Mar;111:326-334. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.12.146. Epub 2017 Dec 30.

Practical Challenges and Perspectives for the Development of Neurosurgery in a Peripheral East African Hospital During a One-Volunteer Midterm Mission.

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Mathari Consolata Hospital (Volunteer Neurosurgeon), Nyeri, Kenya. Electronic address:
Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Universitario de la Ribera, Alzira, Valencia, Spain.
Department of Neurosurgery, Spedali Civili di Brescia, Italy.
Department of Surgery, Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.



Several strategies have been proposed for developing and spreading surgical specialties in Sub-Saharan East Africa. Regarding neurosurgery, improvements are coming from the cooperation between Western and African institutes by means of the World Federation of Neurological Surgeons and independent organizations but, far from big cities and more equipped hospitals, shortcomings in the delivery of services persist.


Through the application of 1 formally trained neurosurgeon volunteer, the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery and Neurocirugía, Educación y Desarrollo coordinated a 2-month neurosurgical project at Mathari Consolata Hospital in Nyeri (Kenya), designed to analyze critical points and to find suggestions for initiating and developing a neurosurgical service, providing in the meantime clinical and surgical care for patients.


During the mission, general and local issues limiting the neurosurgical activities at the hospital were studied. They were discussed with the hospital board and the project supervisors, thereby ensuring short-term and medium-term solutions and possible future cooperation with the hospital. The volunteer also carried out clinics and surgery for neuro cases and neurosurgical training for nurses and doctors.


The model proposed should be considered a preliminary and immersive survey to evaluate the eligibility of a decentralized East African hospital to interface with neurosurgical activities, through the support of experienced local institutes and Western organizations. Host hospitals would also have the chance to enhance clinical services currently lacking and to train its personnel at low cost. The program may represent a rewarding personal and professional opportunity for young trained neurosurgeons, which also addresses the contemporary shortage of local specialists.


Development models; FIENS (Foundation of International Education in Neurological Surgery); Medical volunteerism; NED (Neurocirugía, Educación y Desarrollo [Neurosurgery, Education and Development]); Self-sufficiency; Sub-Saharan Africa; WFNS (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies)

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