Overview of CNIS

The Canadian Network for International Surgery (CNIS) is a unique organization with an incredible history.

Since being founded in 1995 by Dr. Ronald Lett, MD MSc. FRCSCS FCS (ECSA), CNIS has been coordinating an international effort to bring lifesaving surgical, obstetrical and nursing training to sub-Saharan Africa by transferring essential surgical skills to local healthcare personnel and institutions. These efforts provide African healthcare students with practical skills that save lives.

CNIS is a global leader in providing surgical skills training and we believe in the power of:

  • Improving the quality of life
  • Sharing knowledge and expertise to transform communities
  • Creating lasting sustainable improvements in healthcare across low income countries.

CNIS is uniquely qualified to address these needs, based on our 19 years of experience in the following:

  • Creating Surgical Courses – in collaboration with our partners in low income countries, we create courses tailored for their specific needs.  Besides surgical skills and obstetrics training, CNIS has a trauma team course, perioperative nursing course, burn management, hernia repair, osteomyelitis and a traumatic brain and spinal injury course.
  • Training Domestically – we train Canadian surgeons, obstetricians, anesthetists and nurses, providing them with the curriculum to teach others in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Transferring Skills –our Canadian professionals travel to low income countries where surgical services are lacking and impart their skills to various healthcare personnel.  The transfer of skills enables life-saving surgeries to be performed.

Today, the concept of essential surgical care is the level of basic care to which all humans have a right to access. More people die from injury alone than from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and one in thirteen women in sub-Saharan Africa will die a maternal death. The number of preventable deaths and disabilities each year from unmet surgical care needs extends into the tens of millions –mothers dying, children suffering, communities struggling.

Our results in sub-Saharan African are profound.  By providing practical surgical skills to medical professionals, we are enabling them to provide better healthcare to their communities – lives are saved.

Over the past 19 years, CNIS has successfully achieved:

  • 12 customized courses created specific to the needs of healthcare personnel in low income countries
  • 150 Canadian medical professionals trained to teach these courses
  • 760 Africans trained as course instructors
  • 25,000 African healthcare personnel trained by the African instructors in collaboration with the Canadian professionals.

The benefits derived from transferring lifesaving surgical skills to low income countries are constrained only by the availability of funds to support our work. Without your financial support we are hindered in our abilities to respond to the needs of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa who lack the most fundamental level of healthcare.

We have the experience, the expertise, and the ability to deliver extraordinary results.

Now, we need your support.