Namibia to produce own specialist anaesthetists for the first time


The University of Namibia has introduced a new Masters in Anaesthesia with the support of Cardiff University in Wales, and has just kicked off the with the first six students. 

This lifesaving medical care program will be transformed in Namibia with the new postgraduate course, and will increase the number of state anaesthetists. 

These students will be the first specialist anaesthetists trained in the country.

The training will help address an acute shortage of anaesthetists which leaves patients facing long waiting lists for surgery and a lack of specialist care during emergency operations.

The students will transform the number of dedicated anaesthetists available, building self-sufficiency for the training of specialist anaesthetists in Namibia and improving the quality of patient care.

Professor Frednard Gideon, Pro-Vice Chancellor: Academic Affairs at UNAM said: “The start of the training of the anaesthetists is a huge relieve to the health care and pain management delivery in the public hospitals in Namibia.  

“It is also key for a sustainable system of a training programme for doctors as anaesthetists in the country.”

Ebba Shaanika, a student on the Master’s in Anaesthesia programme, said: “In Namibia, both in private and public health sector, currently we do not have enough anaesthetists. 

“We are happy to be part of the first group on the Master’s programme and specialise in the field, as it is an important part when patients undergo an operation of surgery.”

Phoenix Project leader, Professor Judith Hall of Cardiff University, who is herself a consultant anaesthetist, came up with the idea for the new anaesthesia course and worked with partners at UNAM to develop it.

She said, “Surgery can save lives but you can't have surgery without anaesthesia, and Namibia has so few state anaesthetists. This Masters course will create a new body of professional anaesthetics doctors in Namibia in sufficient numbers to truly transform care.”

The six students from across Namibia are the first to take the course, which will equip them with specialist anaesthesia training and skills not currently provided in Namibia.

The training will lead to improved support for surgical care and provide leadership for specialist anaesthetic care throughout the country.

The Phoenix Project, a mutually beneficial collaboration between Cardiff University and UNAM, has previously provided intensive crash courses in anaesthesia and critical care skills for students and doctors around the country.