Globalization in Pediatric Surgical Training: The Benefit of an International Fellowship in a Low-to-Middle-Income Country Academic Hospital

Andrea Zanini, Christina Oetzmann Von Sochaczewski, Sonia Basson, Giulia Brisighelli, Antonio Di Cesare, Tarryn Gabler, Valerio Gentilino, Milan Gopal, Andrew Grieve, Derek Harrison, Nirav Patel, Chris Westgarth-Taylor, Aletha Withers, Jerome A. Loveland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective A relative oversupply of pediatric surgeons led to increasing difficulties in surgical training in high-income countries (HIC), popularizing international fellowships in low-to-middle-income countries (LMIC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefit of an international fellowship in an LMIC for the training of pediatric surgery trainees from HICs. Methods We retrospectively reviewed and compared the prospectively maintained surgical logbooks of international pediatric surgical trainees who completed a fellowship at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in the last 10 years. We analyzed the number of surgeries, type of involvement, and level of supervision in the operations. Data are provided in mean differences between South Africa and the respective home country. Results Seven fellows were included. Operative experience was higher in South Africa in general (Δx¯ = 381; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 236-656; p < 0.0001) and index cases (Δx¯ = 178; 95% CI: 109-279; p < 0.0001). In South Africa, fellows performed more index cases unsupervised (Δx¯ = 71; 95% CI: 42-111; p < 0.0001), but a similar number under supervision (Δx¯ = -1; 95% CI: -25-24; p = 0.901). Fellows were exposed to more surgical procedures in each pediatric surgical subspecialty. Conclusion An international fellowship in a high-volume subspecialized unit in an LMIC can be highly beneficial for HIC trainees, allowing exposure to higher caseload, opportunity to operate independently, and to receive a wider exposure to the different fields of pediatric surgery. The associated benefit for the local trainees is some reduction in their clinical responsibilities due to the additional workforce, providing them with the opportunity for protected academic and research time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-369
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • international fellowship
  • pediatric surgery
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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