The University of Nairobi to partner with Smile Train in training  of 20 plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Africa

UoN VC Prof. Stephen Kiama and Smile Train Senior VP Global Medical Programs, Dr. Esther Njoroge with UoN and Smile Train management teams

Smile Train, a cleft-focused organization has partnered with the University of Nairobi, through the Department of Surgery to offer full scholarships to medical residents based in Africa to study plastic and reconstructive surgery. The scholarship program will support 20 resident doctors over the subsequent five years during which each resident will receive $19,000 - $22,750 per year.

Through strategic partnerships at the local and international level, Smile Train dedicates itself to providing funding towards quality healthcare capacity building and advocacy to increase access to safer surgeries and cleft care in low- and middle-income countries.

Research indicates that 5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia care, with surgical conditions accounting for over a quarter of the world's diseases. To bridge the gap and strengthen surgical systems in Africa, the ‘Smile Train-UoN Scholarship Program’ will provide funding to support four scholars each year: two from Kenya and two from other countries within Africa. Smile Train will cover the complete cost of tuition and a living stipend.

The highest percentage of the 5 billion people worldwide who lack access to safe, high-quality surgical care, are children. One of the foremost critical outcomes of this partnership is going to be increasing the number of qualified surgeons ready to provide safe, timely and quality surgery not only to children with clefts but also individuals with other neglected surgical conditions in underserved communities. The partnership will also support research on cleft lip and palate, which is critical to evidence-based policy development.

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to supply free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. They advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive.

The University of Nairobi is ranked among the highest ten universities in Africa and is uniquely positioned to support, increasing the surgical workforce within the region. The support to patients will involve taking cleft surgical services to the local communities as part of allowing the scholars to connect with and deliver a positive impact in the community. Qualified resident doctors are encouraged to use through the University of Nairobi.

Photo courtesy / UON

Article by Research Beeline team