the course | the skills

The overall objective of the Surgical Skills for African Residents (SSAR) course is to provide a core set of technical skills that are to be competently and confidently understood and practiced by all certified surgical clinicians.

The Course

Dr. Robin Fairfull-Smith demonstrates dissection using laprascopic trainer Moshi, Tanzania 2010. Photo © R. Lett

The course emphasizes the need for the surgeon to accept a leadership role and to demonstrate expert thinking in clinical management; this is presented as an integral part of the course.


CNIS has been developing curriculum for surgical skills training in Africa since 1995 with the gradual implementation of structured skills courses in multiple university-affiliated teaching institutions of eight African countries. Segments from the well-established ESS course have been taken and modified to create a basic surgical skills course that is specific for surgical trainees in Africa and that will satisfactorily fulfill the requirements for such a course by the College of Surgeons of Eastern and Southern Africa (COSECSA) for Fellowship candidates.

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The Skills

Illustration from course manual. © CNIS.

The course skills are basic blocks which emphasize safety for both surgeon and patient, compliance with universal sterility requirements, proper instrument handling, adequate wound assessment, respect for tissue and adequate attention to detail pertinent to a specific procedure.

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