Thousands of seriously ill people across Africa, who have no access to surgeons, will be treated thanks to a major new surgical training programme funded by Freemasons in England and Wales.
The Freemasons of South Wales have contributed to the £50,000 grant, which will help fund a programme specifically designed to develop the next generation of young surgeons in Africa, giving them access to the latest life-saving techniques, which are very common in the UK but not taught in Africa.
Currently, more than 90 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in Africa do not have access to safe and affordable surgery, resulting in an estimated 17 million deaths every year*.
The programme is taking place in Nigeria – which has approximately 200 million people and is the most populous country in Africa – under the leadership Professor Robert Lane MS(Lond), FRCS (Eng), President of the International Federation of Surgical Colleges (IFSC). Professor Lane leads the surgical training courses, supported by a dedicated volunteer team of surgeons.
Professor Robert Lane, said: “We’re really grateful for this generous grant from the Freemasons. We’re already liaising with the West African College of Surgeons to discover where the need is greatest and this new funding will allow us to start planning the first part of the training programme. Thanks to the Freemasons we’re going to be able to help save many lives across the region.”
The programme will train 30 Nigerian surgeons and nurses, who in turn, will treat more than a thousand surgical patients every year across the continent. The donation will fund travel and accommodation for all the volunteer trainer surgeons, surgical training equipment, programme arrangements and administration.
Gareth Jones OBE, Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Freemasons, said:
“I was deeply shocked to hear that 95 per cent of Africa’s population have almost zero access to surgical care. There are fewer than two surgeons for every 100,000 African people, while in the UK we have around 90 surgeons for every 100,000 British people.”
“We are optimistic this donation will help the surgeons to improve their knowledge and enable them to take care of the largest number of people. It’s critically important that new African surgeons and nurses are trained, and this programme is an excellent start.”
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Notes to Editors:
*According to figures from the World Bank http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/why-are-people-dying-following-surgery-africa – 2018
For further information, please contact:
Livia Ferreira, Public Relations Manager, United Grand Lodge of England
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7395 9208 Mobile: +44 (0) 7539 578699
Freemasonry is one of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world. Its roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles. The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasonry in England,Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and is headquartered in Freemasons’ Hall, London. Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Charity. Freemasonry is also one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing over £48m in 2018, and over five million hours of volunteer work to deserving causes in 2018 alone.