Local doctor brings home international badge of honour

American College of Surgeons awards fellowship to South African surgeon

Wednesday, December 1 2021

In a major career milestone, a Limpopo-born doctor with a passion for providing quality care in rural parts of the country was recently admitted to the American College of Surgeons – one of just 42 South African doctors to have received the internationally recognised commendation.

Dr Nelson Matsobane Latakgomo, a general surgeon with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery and colorectal surgery, who practises at Netcare Pholoso Hospital, accepted the fellowship at the convocation of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), which took place virtually in October this year.

“I was born and bred in Limpopo and am passionate about serving the people of Polokwane and surrounding areas. As a local, I am keenly aware of the need for medical care of the highest standards in our province. The ACS is an active community of likeminded healthcare professionals who, amongst other aims, strongly promotes improved health in rural areas globally – a cause that is very close to my heart,” says Dr Latakgomo. 

Pic: Dr Nelson Matsobane Latakgomo, a general surgeon with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery and colorectal surgery who practises at Netcare Pholoso Hospital, recently accepted his fellowship at the convocation of the American College of Surgeons, which took place virtually.

Dr Latakgomo notes that the College also provides a valuable platform for international knowledge sharing and for promoting excellent practice in surgery. He says the fellowship will therefore assist in shining a brighter light on some of the exceptional care that is being provided in Limpopo.

“As head of the trauma programme here at Netcare Pholoso Hospital, I am enthusiastic about the additional benefits that this fellowship will bring to our area. Last year, the hospital was accredited as a Level II trauma centre, certifying that the necessary professional medical services are available at the facility to deal with trauma cases and medical emergencies in line with international best practice in trauma medicine.

“I am hopeful that we will soon be able to take the next step in our trauma accreditation so that we can also provide the highest level of training to doctors in dealing with trauma cases and upskilling healthcare professionals who serve our communities.

“On a more personal note, I am also all too aware of what it is like to grow up in a more rural area, and that it is important to have self-belief when pursuing your passion. I am deeply honoured to have been awarded this international fellowship. I hope that many young people, particularly in our rural communities, will be encouraged to see that South African doctors, and professionals at large, with similarly humble beginnings have every reason to keep reaching for their goals,” says Dr Latakgomo.  

According to Johan Smal, North East regional director of Netcare, Dr Latakgomo’s achievement is well-deserved, though it comes as no surprise. “Dr Latakgomo is driven by his passion for the highest possible standards in healthcare. It is therefore fitting that he should receive this international acknowledgement of his dedication to the field of surgery. We are privileged to have him practising here at our facility, helping us to provide such excellent care to the communities we serve,” he concludes.


The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons founded in 1913 with the aim of improving quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. Fellowship is awarded to those surgeons who have passed a rigorous evaluation of education, training, professional qualifications, surgical competence and ethical conduct consistent with the standards established and demanded by the ACS.


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Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Margate Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clemmy Forsthofer
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