Neonatal surgery in Africa

Semin Pediatr Surg. 2012 May;21(2):151-9. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2012.01.007.


The management of neonatal surgical problems continues to pose considerable challenges, particularly in low-resource settings. The burden of neonatal surgical diseases in Africa is not well documented. The characteristics of some neonatal surgical problems are highlighted. Late presentation coupled with poor understanding of the milieu interior of the neonates by incompetent health care providers and poorly equipped hospitals combine to give rise to the unacceptable high morbidity and mortality in most parts of Africa. Proper training of all staff involved in neonatal health care coupled with community awareness must be vigorously pursued by all stakeholders. Various governments throughout the continent of Africa, in conjunction with international donor agencies, must not only provide an adequate budget for health care services and improve infrastructures, but must also deliberately encourage and provide funding for neonatal surgical care and research across the continent. The well-established pediatric surgical training programs, particularly in North and South Africa, should hold the moral responsibility of training all possible numbers of young surgeons from other African countries that do not have any existing pediatric surgical training programs or those countries suffering from remarkable shortage of trained pediatric surgeons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Congenital Abnormalities / surgery
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / surgery
  • General Surgery / education
  • General Surgery / organization & administration*
  • Hernia, Diaphragmatic / surgery
  • Hernia, Umbilical / surgery
  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / surgery*
  • Neonatology / education
  • Neonatology / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Teratoma / surgery