State of Neurosurgical Education in Africa: A Narrative Review

Document Type



General Surgery (East Africa)


Background: There is no comprehensive report of neurosurgery postgraduate education in Africa. This narrative review aimed to map out the landscape of neurosurgery training in Africa and highlight similarities and differences in training.

Methods: The keywords “neurosurgery,” “education,” and “Africa” were searched on PubMed and Google Scholar from inception to January 17, 2021. Next, a complementary hand search was conducted on Google using the keywords “neurosurgery,” “residency,” and the individual African countries in English and official languages. The relevant data were extracted and compiled into a narrative review.

Results: A total of 76 African training programs that recruit more than 168 trainees each year were identified. Less than half (40.7%, n = 22) of African countries have at least 1 neurosurgery training program. Egypt (n = 15), Algeria (n = 14), and Nigeria (n = 10) have the highest number of training programs, whereas Algeria (0.33), Egypt (0.15), and Libya (0.15) have the highest number of training programs per 1 million inhabitants. The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa has 16 programs in 8 countries, whereas the West African College of Surgeons has 17 accredited programs in 3 countries. The duration of training varies between 4 and 8 years. There is limited information available in the public domain and academic literature about subspecialty fellowships in Africa.

Conclusions: This review provides prospective applicants and African and global neurosurgery stakeholders with information to advocate for increased investment in African neurosurgery training programs.

Publication (Name of Journal)

World Neurosurgery