Gertrude’s opens training hub for heart surgeons

Gertrude's children's hospital in Donholm, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital has opened a cardiac surgery simulation laboratory for training heart surgeons amid a biting shortage of specialists in Kenya.

The hospital has partnered with the University of Nairobi and the German Heart Institute to launch the East African Simulation Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery in Muthaiga, Nairobi.

The centre aims to improve the skills of cardiac surgery trainees in the region while complementing the hospital’s initiatives of providing early diagnosis and effective treatment for heart illnesses in children.

“We expect the number of children who require treatment, including surgery, to grow rapidly as better diagnosis takes root in many of our hospitals which will create more demand for cardiac surgeons,” said Gertrude's head of clinical services Thomas Ngwiri

It is estimated that about 80 percent to 90 percent of children in Kenya who require cardiac surgeries do not receive them, partly due to a shortage of surgeons.

Kenya trains four to five heart surgeons annually, against a demand of 20, resulting in a gap in diagnosis and treatment of heart illnesses. Under the deal, the UoN will provide the trainers while the German Heart Institute will donate the equipment to improve training for cardiovascular surgery students and professionals.

“The Skills Lab is a way of giving more hands-on training that allows us to train more surgeons faster,” said Mark Awori, a consultant cardiovascular surgeon at Gertrude’s Hospital and senior lecturer of paediatric and congenital cardiovascular surgery at UoN.

The new centre is expected to grow to serve the whole East African region, providing training and skills improvement for cardiac surgeons by inviting professionals to utilise the facility.

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