In the past few years BFIRST fellows have successfully applied to the scheme from many countries around the world including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Georgia, Pakistan, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Please read the following testimonials from recent BFIRST fellows to find out where they went in the UK, what they learnt and what they though of the fellowship:
- Afrina Sharmin – Plastic Surgeon from Bangladesh. 2019 BFIRST Fellowship spent in East Grinstead and the Royal Free London
- Mahbub Hasan – Plastic Surgeon from Bangladesh. 2019 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Manchester and the Royal Free London
- Yasir Iqbal – Plastic Surgeon from Pakistan. 2018 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Belfast, Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester and London
- Pedro Santos – Plastic Surgeon from Mozambique. 2016 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Glasgow and Dublin
- Mohamed Mehrose – Plastic Surgeon from Pakistan. 2015 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Chelmsford
Afrina Sharmin – Plastic Surgeon from Bangladesh. 2019 BFIRST Fellowship spent in East Grinstead and the Royal Free, London
I’d like to thank BFIRST for accepting me for this fellowship and Ms Barbara Jemec to introduce
me to the whole Breast team and Plastic surgery team. All the staff were very welcoming and
interactive. During our academic period we learnt all the protocol and procedures of treatment
but in practical some management change as per availability of resources. It’s a great experience
to participate the standard management guideline in terms of surgery, pre and per operative
management, Outdoor clinics, MDT clinics. In my entire training session I realise the best of part
of learning practically. The training help me to be determinant for taking some initiatives at home
country for initiating to develop a standard and guideline. The standardisation will help all the
surgery department for achieving good practice as well best outputs.
Regarding surgical skill, I found all the surgeons took initiatives for modifying the techniques and
sharing through various form of research or workshop training which really helping out to
achieve the best level of precision. The team and hierarchy of leading was so friendly that helps
the juniors to learn and perform in the team. This the thing that I can start in my theatre. My
understanding got much developed for documenting the facts and findings and formulate
research for further enhancement.
With this fellowship training, I was fortunate to attend two conferences. One in Manchester with
‘Congenital Hand Surgery and Tumour” arranged by BSSH on 1-2 February, 2019 and other one
was at Oxford, “Oxford Oncoplastic Breast Surgery Course 2019’ on March 21-22, 2019. It was
so effectively helpful for me to understand the learning which was presented in the session,
specially the hands on training on silicon dummy. The resource persons and delegates from
different hospitals of UK and Europe shared their experiences and views which was very practice
oriented. I am so inspired from the conference learning and from now I will try to participate the
conferences further to share my work experiences also.
Taking part in the BFIRST Fellowship was a great experience in all aspects and it enabled me to
acquire skills that will certainly be used. It is my privileged to work with renowned surgeons in
UK and would like to express my humble gratitude to BFIRST for the fellowship training and
opportunities where doctors from under developed countries can visit UK and learn from
experience. I strongly believe I will be able to utilise the learning and try to set a Breast cancer
treatment guideline for our country which will be the first step to improve the patient care. I
would like to request the BFIRST for creating few opportunities for Bangladeshi surgeons to
acquire hands on training experience. These training experience will significantly help to the
Read Afrina’s report in full here.
Yasir Iqbal – Plastic Surgeon from Pakistan. 2018 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Belfast, Dublin, Newcastle, Manchester and London
BFIRST fellowship is a great opportunity for young consultants to go abroad to a developed country
and that how they are running their health services.
During my visit to UK, I saw how medical health providers are applying research results to improve
patient’s management. This encouraged me to do more research work back in my country to
improve health services and also to present my country internationally in research field.
Good hospital management which I witnessed there is also very important for good working
environment. Leaves policy should also be very clear and followed accordingly.
Every surgeon in UK is doing his/ her specialised work and getting a good number of cases of that
respective sub speciality. This makes learning curve easier and benefits patients at the end.
I was more interested in facial cleft treatment. I remained involved in all areas of cleft management
like nursing care, counselling, dental and speech clinics, audits and operations as well. Record
keeping, Referral and follow up systems there are great.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend some conferences and worthwhile workshops totally free
all thanks to BFIRST, where I got an opportunity to meet and discuss with big names in Plastic
I also experienced British culture closely. When I see this country overall, mutual respect is custom
and everyone has equal rights.
Whenever I became home sick, I used to enjoy tourist attractions and my consultants were kind
enough to take me outside. I also enjoyed hosting at their houses and ate delicious foods there.
Overall, my fellowship trip remained very useful and full of knowledge and experience.
I thank BFIRST and wish good luck to next coming fellows
Pedro Santos – Plastic Surgeon from Mozambique. 2016 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Glasgow and Dublin
My name is Pedro Santos, I’m a junior plastic surgeon from Mozambique (on the east coast of southern Africa) and a BFIRST Fellow. I was made aware of the BFIRST Fellowship by Mr John Stevenson, who was one of the examiners of the exam for the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa- COSECSA.
From the second week of October until the end of November 2016, I spent nearly three weeks in Glasgow, at the Canniesburn Unit, hosted by Mr Stuart Watson and colleagues and another similar period in Dublin, at the St James’s Hospital Plastic Surgery Unit, hosted by Ms Patricia Eadie and colleagues. They were all very welcoming, and the interaction with them was really important. Coming from a resource strapped environment, seeing what can be done to improve the health of patients when resources are available is quite impressive and a reminder of what we should aim for, even if it doesn’t come in my lifetime. One should aim to keep on improving constantly. Seeing scientific work being applied is wonderful and many of the things I saw I had only read about them in books and articles and seeing them being done allowed me to better understand them. I also saw a few procedures I had not seen before and different ways of doing some of the procedures I do at home. I’m referring specifically about hand and lower limb surgery, burn surgery, breast surgery which is what I saw mainly. I also had the opportunity to accompany the ward rounds, outpatient clinics and physiotherapy clinic which is integral to plastic surgery
The end of the fellowship coincided with the BAPRAS Winter Meeting and it was another opportunity that I took and it was a very nice meeting, the quality of the work presented was very high.
Besides the visit to the plastic surgery units I also took the opportunity to take some tours around the cities I visited, getting to know some of the culture, sights and sounds and meeting some of the local people, which is always enriching.
Some advice for future fellows: Once accepted the candidate has to apply for a visa for which one needs all the required documents – a process that can be lengthy. The candidate is also responsible for acquiring the ticket(s) for the trip, and some candidates may find this difficult. Some of the requirements are the accommodation bookings (which may not be easy to do if one does not have a credit card or if one is not aware of the area), proof of having enough funds for support during the visit, amongst others. It is thus fundamental to have all the documents ready, and make sure that the passport is valid for more than 6months from the date of planned return if the candidate is to travel elsewhere before returning home.
Taking part in the BIFIRST Fellowship was a great experience in all aspects and it enabled me to acquire skills that will certainly be used.
I’d like to thank BFIRST for accepting me for this fellowship, Mr John Stevenson for introducing me to it, Ms Patricia Eadie and Mr Stuart Watson for hosting me.
Mohamed Mehrose – Plastic Surgeon from Pakistan. 2015 BFIRST Fellowship spent in Chelmsford
I feel lot privileged to express my feelings about my BFIRST fellowship stay at the Chelmsford. Firstly, I would like to thank BAPRAS to provide me such opportunity where doctors from under developed countries can visit the UK and observe their working system closely and learn from their experience.
I would also like to express special thanks to Prof. Peter Dziewulski for every thing he has done for me from accepting my placement to provide supporting letters to home office so that I can get my visa stamped and then guiding me throughout during my stay at the Chelmsford.
I was very much impressed by the hospitality I received from all the members of staff at St. Andrews Centre. This trip was very fruitful for me from number of aspects. During this fellowship, I have compared burns management between the UK and Pakistan and it gave me ideas how we can improve our burn management system.
I was especially sent from my unit as I have been assigned the responsibility to lead the burn care. Beside excellent care provided at in and out patient setting to the burn patients, the areas I feel need further improvement at our setup is to enhance the MDT and team approach, infection control, intensive care, stress on social and occupational rehabilitation and after burn care.
By utilizing this opportunity, I feel more confident and at a much better position to treat burn patient at our center. I feel this initiative is an excellent effort made by BAPRAS to help the Plastic Surgeons of under developed countries to improve their patient care. I would strongly suggest continuing this iniative so that it would be beneficial for the doctors and patients globally.
Once again thank you very much for everything you have done.