Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital Launches Kenya’s First Heart Surgery Simulation Lab

L-R, Hassan Ibrahim - Registrar Cardiothoracic Surgery, Mark Awori - Consultant, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Nigel Amolo - Senior Registrar Cardiothoracic Surgeon

The first cardiac surgery simulation laboratory for training heart surgeons has been revealed at the Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, Nairobi.

According to a statement, the training centre is expected to contribute to efforts to increase the number of cardiac surgeons in the region.

It is estimated that about 80% to 90% of Kenyan children who require cardiac surgeries do not receive them, partly due to a shortage of cardiac surgeons.

At the moment, 4 to 5 heart surgeons are trained in Kenya each year, but the country needs to train at least 20 annually. 

The facility has also partnered with the University of Nairobi and the German Heart Institute to improve training for cardiac surgeons through the newly established East African Simulation Centre for Cardiovascular Surgery.

The Centre will be based at the hospital, whereas UoN will provide the trainers who will use the equipment donated by the German Heart Institute to improve training for cardiovascular surgery students and professionals.

The new centre is expected to grow to serve the whole East African region, providing training and skills improvement for cardiac surgeons by inviting professionals to utilize the facility. 


“We expect the number of children who require treatment, including surgery, to grow rapidly as better diagnosis takes root in many of our hospitals which will create more demand for cardiac surgeons. In anticipation of that, we have partnered with the cardiothoracic surgery training program at the University of Nairobi. The trainees in the program will be utilizing the skills lab as part of their hands-on training,” said Dr. Thomas Ngwiri, Gertrude’s Head of Clinical Services.

“Kenya has a real shortage of heart surgeons. We started a local training programme about 9 years ago and are currently training 4 to 5 surgeons every year, but we need a lot more, approximately 20 per year. The Skills Lab is a way of giving more hands-on training that allows us to train more surgeons faster,” said Dr. Mark Awori, a consultant cardiovascular surgeon at Gertrude’s Hospital and senior lecturer of paediatric and congenital cardiovascular surgery and the University of Nairobi