Zambian doctors are to be given the chance to come to Scotland for specialist training through a £200,000 fund in memory of the famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone.
The Scottish Government cash for the Livingstone Fellowship Scheme will allow doctors from Zambia and Malawi to benefit from training with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland.
Eleven doctors are set to benefit from the scheme, including three who will be able to spend a year in Scotland.
The Scottish Government cash has been announced by International Development minister Alasdair Allan ahead of a visit to Zambia, which aims to build on historic links between the country and Scotland.
The Glasgow Royal College Livingstone Fellowship scheme provides a framework for sponsored trainees to come and work in the Scottish Health Service. In the past this has allowed doctors from Malawi an opportunity to extend their experience before returning home to take up consultant posts.
Funding has been through £4,000 fellowship grants from the colleges, which cover travel and incidentals. The extra cash will extend the scheme to doctors from Zambia.
It will meet the salaries for three doctors being trained for a year in Scotland and will provide funding for up to a further eight doctors from both countries to receive smaller Fellowship grants.
Allan said: “I’m delighted that we are able to expand this valuable programme and extend it to Zambia, as a key partner country. In the past the Livingstone Fellowship Scheme has enabled doctors in Malawi to significantly increase their expertise and take those skills home for the benefit of their country. It is fitting that Dr David Livingstone’s legacy, which has left equally strong links between Scotland and Zambia, is also reflected in the award of these fellowships.”
He added: “By empowering people in developing nations and giving them the skills and opportunities to improve the lives of themselves and their communities, we are helping them to enhance sustainable, long-term development.”
Wone Banda is an example of a medic who has benefited from the scheme.
She is now working as a consultant plastic surgeon in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, having spent a year working as a senior trainee at the Canniesburn Plastic Surgical Unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she started work in August 2015 .
In Malawi, there are only two consultant plastic surgeons serving the needs of 16 million people.
Wone said: “I have been able to gain vital experience working in Glasgow. In Malawi there is a shortage of beds and surgeons. My dream is to go home and set up a dedicated plastic surgery unit.
“My time in Scotland may be over, but it’s good to know that other students from my country will have the opportunity to train here in the future.”