Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Availability of Specialist Training and Different Training Pathways across Africa

J West Afr Coll Surg. 2024 Apr-Jun;14(2):199-207. doi: 10.4103/jwas.jwas_112_23. Epub 2024 Feb 22.


Background: Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) is the surgical specialty concerned with the treatment of a broad range of conditions that affect the head, face, mouth, neck, and jaw. In Africa, there is a paucity of information about the specialist training available to aspiring African Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Objective: This paper aimed at shedding light on the available OMFS specialist training programmes and training pathways across Africa.

Materials and methods: The authors searched on PubMed, AJOL, and Google Scholar using the keywords "Africa," "Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery," "Residency," "Postgraduate," and "Education" and the individual African countries in English and official languages from inception till July 11, 2022. The authors utilised a questionnaire to interview native oral and maxillofacial surgeons and dentists in African countries where there were no published data on OMFS specialist training.

Results: A total of 21 (38.8%) African countries had OMFS specialist training programmes (n = 69). The duration of training varies between 2 and 7 years. The number of training programmes per country ranges between one and thirteen. Countries with the most training programmes for OMFS in Africa are Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, and Algeria. Northern Africa and Central Africa had the most and least numbers of specialist training programmes in OMFS, respectively.

Conclusion: There remains a disparity in the number of specialist training programmes available to aspiring African Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons as compared with other parts of the world. This paper is intended to function both as a means of advocacy to increase funding and resources in support of the infrastructure and development of facilities for African OMFS specialist training programmes and also serve as a valuable reference for future research in OMFS.

Keywords: Africa; education; fellowship; oral and maxillofacial surgery; postgraduate; residency.