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Tel: +27 0312604257
Fax: +27 0312604389
E-mail: surgery@ukzn.ac.za
Message from the Head of Department

   

Message from HOD

The Department of Surgery has a proud legacy of surgical training on the African continent. Since its establishment in the early 1950’s this Department was the only site in South Africa where Blacks could specialise in Surgery. Thus, our Department of Surgery is synonymous with the training in Surgery of the historically marginalised.

The Department is sensitive to the legacy of apartheid and its impact on tertiary education and wider society. To this end, every opportunity is utilized to build the capacity and enhance the profile of those historically disadvantaged to ensure that the transformation initiative is promoted. With this, we resonate the REACH campaign and inspire all staff to practice the five core principles of Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Client-orientation and Honesty.

Presently, the Department of General Surgery is located on the 3rd Floor of the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

The Department has affiliations to academic hospitals in Ethekwini and Pietermaritzburg and is responsible for the administration of teaching (undergraduates and postgraduates) and academic activities at these hospitals.

In Ethekwini, the hospitals through which undergraduates and Registrars rotate include King Edward VIII Hospital, RK Khan Hospital, Addington Hospital, Prince Mshiyeni Hospital and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

In Pietermaritzburg, undergraduates are attached to Northdale Hospital and Grey’s Hospital; registrars are rotated through both these hospitals.

The postgraduate teaching program is based on the Fellowship in Surgery syllabus outlined by the CMSA for sitting the FCS (Fellow of College of Surgeons). Whilst there are teaching programs (clinical meetings, research meetings, Journal Club meeting at the designated academic hospitals, the Department hosts 2 meetings (Seminars in Surgery and Surgical Forum) that brings together all trainees (undergraduate and postgraduates and Consultants). 

The weekly Seminars in Surgery meeting has been undertaken for the past 4 decades and is widely recognized for its standard and relevance in respect of postgraduate teaching and formulation of management protocols.  A manuscript addressing the advertised seminar is produced and is circulated electronically to all Department affiliates (now in excess of 300).  The Seminars in Surgery, over a 2 year cycle, covers the extent of the FCS syllabus (Intermediate and Final FCS) and are available on the Department webpage.

The Surgical Forum is also held weekly. This meeting is designed to address aspects of surgical anatomy, operative techniques and as well the presentation of clinical vignettes. At least 5 topics are presented at each meeting; during the 2017 Surgical Forum 102 presentations were made.

Both the Seminars in Surgery and Surgical Forum, with discussions, are available as video recordings.

Service delivery in our resource constraint environment is a critical facet of the effort of the staff attached to the Department of Surgery.

Working synergistically with the Department of Health we strive to deliver an effective surgical service throughout the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Our view is that whilst service delivery is undertaken and administered by the Department of Health, service delivery is central to teaching and research. Our attainment of clinical and technical skills and research productivity is contingent on the kindness of our patients and support of the Department of Health. We encourage that service delivery be seen as repayment of a debt we owe to our long suffering society.

In conjunction with the Department of Health, outreach programs are undertaken to facilities that are constrained by a lack of human resource and ready access to the appropriate centre. This engagement includes the undertaking of surgical procedures and expediting the transfer patients appropriately.  The outreach endeavour also provides an opportunity to upskill junior doctors and highlight management protocols.

Members of staff in the Department of Surgery are encouraged to participate in the official structures of the University and the Medical School and thereby contribute to both policy and strategy formulation. Such participation contributes to the personal development and profile of the young consultant to the end that participation in national committees and examination boards, as examples, readily follow. 

The Department is actively contributing to the University’s pursuit of African scholarship and training of surgeons from the continent. To this end, trainees are selected following recommendation from a recognised training centre and a government to government agreement to ensure that the successfully trained candidate returns to serve his/her society.


 



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