The Status of Specialist Neurosurgical Training in Nigeria: A Survey of Practitioners, Trainers, and Trainees

World Neurosurg. 2024 May:185:e44-e56. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2023.11.040. Epub 2023 Nov 17.


Objective: Despite the well-known neurosurgical workforce deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa, there remains a low number of neurosurgical training programs in Nigeria. This study sought to reassess the current status of specialist neurosurgical training in the country.

Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to all consultant neurosurgeons and neurosurgery residents in Nigeria. Demographic information and questions relating to the content, process, strengths, and challenges of neurosurgical training were explored as part of a broader survey assessing neurosurgical capacity. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis.

Results: Respondents identified 15 neurosurgical training centers in Nigeria. All 15 are accredited by the West African College of Surgeons, and 6 by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. The average duration of core neurosurgical training was 5 years. Some identified strengths of Nigerian neurosurgical training included learning opportunities provided to residents, recent growth in the neurosurgical training capacity, and satisfaction with training. Challenges included a continued low number of training programs compared to the population density, lack of subspecialty training programs, and inadequate training infrastructure.

Conclusions: Despite the high number of neurosurgery training centers in Nigeria, compared to other West African countries, the programs are still limited in number and capacity. Although this study shows apparent trainee satisfaction with the training process and contents, multiple challenges exist. Efforts at improving training capacity should focus on continuing the development and expansion of current programs, commencing subspecialty training, driving health insurance to improve funding, and increasing available infrastructure for training.

Keywords: Challenges; Neurosurgery; Nigeria; Training; Workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Neurosurgeons / education
  • Neurosurgery* / education
  • Nigeria
  • Surveys and Questionnaires