Edinburgh hospitality funds next generation of Rwandan surgeons


The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), with the Rwandan Surgical Society (RSS) and Harvard University have partnered to tackle the country’s surgical crisis.

In Rwanda, there is an urgent need for more trained surgeons with just 150 specialist surgeons, physicians, anaesthetists and obstetricians serving a population of more than 12 million.

Over the next year the RCSEd, in partnership with the RSS and Harvard University, is training operating theatre teams in non-technical surgical skills as it works to improve surgical safety at every Rwandan district hospital as 80% of surgery in Rwanda by these teams.

The project will teach these skills to non-specialist surgical teams, for example general practitioners, anaesthesia technicians, and theatre nurses, focusing on matters such as situation awareness, decision-making, communication and teamwork, and leadership.

A student practices surgery techniques.

The curriculum has been taught to over 200 post-graduate trainees in surgery, anaesthesia, obstetrics, and nursing so far.

The initiative will train 112 clinicians, and RCSEd’s contributions will have impact on many thousands of patients across Rwanda.

The project has been funded by Surgeon’s Quarter, which manages and makes money from RCSEd’s campus and Johnson & Johnson.

Surgeons Quarter, runs Edinburgh’s largest independent hotel, Ten Hill Place, and also hosts weddings and conferences in College-owned Old Town buildings.

Scott Mitchell, Managing Director of Surgeons Quarter, said: “As tourists pay for their stay at Ten Hill Place, and as local residents buy their coffees and lunches in Café 1505, they’re helping us to fund causes that advance surgical care across the world. 

“We’re very proud to have built a strong reputation for ourselves in the hospitality sector and seeing our profits go towards worthwhile initiatives such as these as a result of that success is very rewarding.”

Professor Mike Griffin, President of the RCSEd, said: “Building surgical capacity in Rwanda, for Rwanda, is all part of the College’s commitment to improving its access to surgery worldwide.

“Training and providing practical experience in-country is vital in making this happen, and our exciting partnership with the Rwandan Surgical Society is a significant step in the College’s aims of developing global surgery.”