Renowned SA children’s heart surgeon to host major surgical masterclass

Major bid to reduce cardiac-related mortality rate of Africa’s children

Friday, July 7 2017

Following an illustrious career approaching 50 years during which he performed more than 15 000 open heart surgeries, internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Professor Robin Kinsley, will be hosting his last major training symposium – something he considers as a life-saving gift to the children of Africa and the medical fraternity he has so tirelessly served over the years.

Pic: "Internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Professor Robin Kinsley."

The three-day training symposium, entitled “Masterclass in paediatric cardiac surgery - How I teach it”, is aimed at demonstrating basic paediatric cardiac surgery techniques to doctors and other healthcare delegates from across the African continent, and will be taking place at the Netcare head office auditorium from 12 to 14 July 2017.

According to Professor Kinsley, basic paediatric cardiac surgical knowledge is lacking in many African countries, leaving as many as 280 000 neonates born annually with congenitally malformed hearts without access to treatment.

“This is an issue that is close to my heart and something I have been campaigning to raise awareness of for many years. With this symposium I hope to make a meaningful, yet practical contribution to assist in reducing the cardiac-related mortality rate among paediatric patients in Africa.”  

“The advances made in paediatric cardiac surgery now make it possible for survival into adulthood for the majority of the children born with congenitally malformed hearts. The fact that there is still such a high heart-related death rate when it comes to children living in Africa is unthinkable and something I often liken to “continental genocide,” he comments.

With over 100 delegates expected to attend from as far afield as Uganda, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, among others, the first day of the symposium will see Professor Kinsley together with Professor Richard Ohye, a cardiovascular surgeon from The University of Michigan, performing paediatric heart surgery at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. Video footage of the procedure will be streamed live to the symposium venue.

“Day two and three of the symposium will see a number of leading local and international cardiothoracic surgeons cover various cardiac surgery techniques, followed by discussion sessions in which delegates have the opportunity to participate,” he adds.

When it comes to addressing the shortage of cardiac treatment available in Africa, Professor Kinsley emphasises that a thorough and holistic understanding of the problem is required.

“The magnitude of children and neonates needing optimal cardiac surgical management across the continent is massive, and the benefits of treating these children are potentially profound. Here adequate finance is pivotal and active interest and involvement from numerous key players, including government and non-governmental and philanthropic organisations are absolutely critical.”

“When it comes to ensuring the necessary infrastructure, hospital developers, biomedical engineers, managers and so on are required, backed by on-going innovation and strong leadership.”

“And of course it is critical to train and develop local personnel, especially medical practitioners and nursing professionals, which are something the symposium aims to assist with. It really comes down to the old Chinese proverb – ‘give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime’,” says Professor Kinsley.
Professor Kinsley currently heads up the multidisciplinary paediatric cardiac team at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg. His dedication and contribution to the medical profession were recently recognised when he received a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of South Africa (SCSSA).

“Children’s heart disorders are often quite different to cardiac problems experienced by adults and each case is unique. For this reason, our multidisciplinary team assesses each patient holistically and then devises a management strategy to best meet his or her specific needs.
“We also offer an outpatient Heart Failure Clinic at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital to assist in the management of such cases. Our goal is the prevention of sudden cardiac death, through the appropriate management of advanced heart failure in paediatric patients,” concludes Professor Kinsley.



Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Sunninghill Hospital.
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]

* - Article written by Professor Robin H. Kinsley, MD in World Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery titled: The Third Aldo Castañeda Lecture: The Neglect of Neonatal/Infant Cardiac Disease in Africa—Continental Genocide?