Fulfilling the Specialist Neurosurgery Workforce Needs in Africa: a SWOT Analysis of Training Programs and Projection Towards 2030
Background/ObjectivesAfrica has only 1% of the global neurosurgery workforce, despite having 14% of the global population and 15% of the global neurosurgical disease burden. Also, neurosurgical training is hampered by paucity of training institutions, dearth of training faculty, and deficiency of optimal training resources. The study appraises the current specialist neurosurgical workforce in Africa, evaluates the major neurosurgery training programs, and projects the 2030 workforce capacity using current growth trends. Methods The study involved systematic and gray literature search, with quantitative analysis of retrospective data on the neurosurgery workforce, qualitative evaluation of the major neurosurgery training programs for their strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and projection modeling of the workforce capacity up to year 2030. Results 1,974 neurosurgeons serve 1.3 billion people (density 0.15/100,000; ratio 1:678,740), in Africa, with the majority (1,271; 64.39%) in North Africa. There are 106 specialist neurosurgery training institutions in 26 African countries, with North Africa having 52 (49.05%) of the training centers. Training is heterogenous, with the major programs being the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) - 24 centers across 7 countries, and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) - 17 centers in 8 countries. At the current linear growth rate of 74.2 neurosurgeons/year or exponential growth rate of 6.81% per annum, Africa will have 2,716 - 3,813 neurosurgeons by 2030, with a deficit of 4,795 - 11,953 neurosurgeons. The continent requires a scale-up of its linear growth rate to 663.4 - 1269.5 neurosurgeons/year, or exponential growth rate to 15.87% - 22.21% per annum to meet its needs. While North African countries will likely meet their 2030 workforce requirements, sub-Saharan African countries will have significant workforce deficits. Conclusion Despite a recent surge in neurosurgery residency training, the current state of Africa’s neurosurgery workforce is dire, and many countries will be unable to meet their workforce requirements by 2030 at current growth trends. A significant scale-up of the neurosurgery workforce is required in order to meet these targets.
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