The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa: Successes and Challenges in Standardizing Neurosurgical Training

World Neurosurg. 2020 Apr:136:172-177. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.01.084. Epub 2020 Jan 17.


Background: The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) is a regional accrediting body for general and specialty surgical training programs that has recently expanded to include neurosurgery. As neurosurgical services expand in sub-Saharan Africa, the structure of training and accreditation has become a vital issue.

Methods: We review the founding and current structures of COSECSA neurosurgical training, identifying accomplishments and challenges facing the expansion of neurosurgical training in this region.

Results: The COSECSA model has succeeded in several countries to graduate qualified neurosurgeons, but challenges remain. Programs must balance the long duration of training required to promote surgical excellence against an overwhelming clinical need that seeks immediate solutions.

Conclusion: Harnessing global collaboration, rapidly expanding local infrastructure, and a robust multinational training curriculum, COSECSA has emerged as a leader in the effort to train neurosurgeons and is anticipated to dramatically improve on the markedly unmet need for neurosurgical care in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Global neurosurgery; History of neurosurgery; Low- and middle-income countries; Resident education; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation* / organization & administration
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgery / education*
  • Surgeons / education