SICOT by Region

Go South

Essam Elsherif
SICOT Vice-President of
Africa, Near & Middle East


Healthcare in Africa still lags behind other regions in the world. Jim K. 2014 stated that 30% of global burden of diseases can be attributed to surgically treatable conditions, figure 1. Africa bears one quarter of the disease burden, yet has only 2% of the world doctors. Specialist surgical force per 100,000 population according to the Lancet commission on global surgeons 2018 is demonstrated in figure 2, comparing some of the developed countries to African ones.

Figure 1 - Causes of the Global Burden of Diseases


My vision as a SICOT Vice-President for Africa, Near & Middle East is to focus on capacity building and the educational aspect in improving healthcare in our continent.

We plan to continue and enforce the Assiut University/SICOT fellowships that was initiated with the efforts of Prof Galal Zaki Said, the former First Vice-President of SICOT.


Figure 2 - Number of Surgical Specialists / 100,000 Population

We are currently receiving three young fellow surgeons from sub-Saharan countries at a time, spending 6 months at our department in Assiut. Fellows are attached to one of our subspecialty units according to their interest or they do a rotation through whatever subspecialty they are interested in within our 8 units. After finishing their stay, all of them reported a positive feedback and many started practicing modern orthopaedic surgery in their home countries based on what they learned in Assiut. Up to now 85 fellows from sub-Saharan Africa have benefitted from this scholarship since 2002. Figure 3 demonstrates Assiut SICOT fellows by country.


Figure 3 - Assiut SICOT Fellows 2002-2019


The second scholarship which has been a turning point in the development of our department is the one signed between SICOT represented by Profs Cody Bünger and Jochen Eulert, Würzburg University represented by Prof Maximilian Rudert, and Assiut University represented by Prof Galal Said and myself as a Head of the Assiut Department at that time in 2009.

Würzburg University hosted 16 young surgeons from Assiut for 6 months each. Up to now 15 of our registrars have been trained there and have introduced many changes in the practice at our Department. We are striving to continue this scholarship as I made an agreement with Prof Rudert to continue.

We have two SICOT Education Centres in Egypt: one in Assiut and one in Alexandria which are provided with high speed internet whereby weekly seminars are held. We also have a good representation in almost all national orthopaedic conferences since 2015. A SICOT Trainee Day is held on the edge of the main conference. The best presented papers were awarded during Spring 2017. Ten of the eminent SICOT ambassadors volunteered to present at a two-day conference in Luxor in collaboration with the Egyptian Orthopaedic Association (EOA). Another Trainee Day during the Spring EOA meeting on 27-29 February 2020 was held with the participation of three eminent SICOT international members.


Future Plans

  1. As the SICOT Vice-President of Africa, Near & Middle East, I will plan regular quarterly internet meetings with SICOT National Representatives of the region to identify their priority educational needs, exchange ideas on different models of training, and get an understanding of the context of the work conditions.

  2. Previous SICOT fellows in Assiut will be invited a second time to Assiut for short visits of 1-4 weeks based on their needs to improve their practice in their hospitals.

  3. Activate the Nigeria and Kenya Education Centres and add other centres in African countries such as South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco.