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 BFISRT fellows to find out where they went in the UK, what they learnt and what they though of the fellowship:
- 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
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.