In high school, a guidance councillor told Salome Maswime that she would never be accepted at medical school. Today, she is a professor and head of Global Surgery at the University of Cape Town. Biénne Huisman chatted to Maswime about her work on safe surgery, her remarkable career, and being the only black woman in the room.
Earlier this year, Spotlight published a two-part series on the human cost of surgery waiting times and asked what could be done about it. One such solution proposed by some is to devolve less complicated surgical care procedures to district hospitals. The AfroSurg3 Conference held in September, which brought together surgical stakeholders from 11 African countries to improve access to care, shed some light on how this might work. Alicestine October reports.
Based on figures from the national Department of Health over 107 000 non-emergency or elective surgeries were put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But challenges in addressing surgical backlogs were there before COVID-19. Alicestine October asked some local experts how surgical care can be better coordinated in South Africa.
Elective surgery is often performed on injuries or for conditions considered less life-threatening and some patients can wait up to two years for their procedure, which will often be scheduled and then cancelled when someone with a more serious medical emergency takes their spot on the list. This takes a huge emotional and financial toll on these patients and their families. Alicestine October reports.