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Access to safe anaesthesia and pain relief following surgery is considered a basic human right in the 21st century. International standards for the safe practice of anaesthesia, adopted by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) in 1992, are seldom reached thus producing a higher than accepted morbidity and mortality in the paediatric population. In Africa, the peri-operative mortality rate for the paediatric surgical patient is the highest in the world. Although many factors need to be addressed to lower this morbidity and mortality, education of physicians who specialize in paediatric anaesthesia is the first essential step.


Kenya has a population of forty million people, half of whom are under 14 years of age. Currently (2012), there are 140 physician anaesthesiologists in Kenya and only 5 trained paediatric anaesthesiologists. In Africa, there are only two training centres; one in Tunisia and the other in Cape Town, South Africa.  Opportunities for training paediatric anaesthesiologists outside the East African region are limited owing to competition for the fellowship positions. In many African institutions, most children undergoing very complicated surgery do not often have the benefit of being attended to by a physician anaesthesiologist, let alone a paediatric anaesthesiologist. The opportunity to improve the anaesthesia care of the paediatric surgical patient in East Africa will be the product of this fellowship training. The increase in numbers of paediatric anaesthesia educators and clinical practitioners produced from this programme will expand the care of multitudes of paediatric surgical patients.


This programme is expected to allow for appropriate training within an East African setting whose challenges include: delayed patient presentation, resource poor setting, and lack of appropriate hospital infrastructure. This programme, located in East Africa rather than in other environments, will produce the physician anaesthesia care provider who can most successfully care for the surgical patients who present at both the urban and rural surgical settings within the East African region. The development of subspecialists within the field of Anaesthesia is a further demonstration of the ongoing advancements in medical education. It is also in line with the social arm of Kenya’s Vision 2030 whose aim is to ensure provision of efficient and high quality health care system.  The department of surgery of the University of Nairobi has the capacity to mount and sustain this programme

Various anaesthetic associations throughout the world will through WFSA provide technical support in running this programme. Kenyatta National Hospital will be used for clinical training. There will be collaboration with other health institutions in Kenya. These will initially include A.I.C. Kijabe Hospital, The Aga Khan University Hospital and The Gertrude’s Garden Children Hospital.

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