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Lughano Kalongolera

The first Malawian to graduate from an online surgical training programme, Dr Lughano Kalongolera continued to treat patients in his home country while expanding his knowledge through the three-year online MSc.

Name

Dr Lughano Kalongolera

Degree 

MSc Surgical Sciences (Online Learning)

Year of Graduation 2013

Your time at the University  

Dr Lughano Kalongolera
Dr Lughano Kalongolera outside McEwan Hall on his graduation day.

I first saw the programme online then Professor Eric Borgstein asked me if I was interested in it and without hesitation my response was an emphatic yes. I was sure it was worthwhile.

The online MSc Surgical Sciences programme is rich in the basic surgical sciences, which include surgical anatomy, physiology and pathology. This knowledge was valuable as I applied it in my other surgical qualifications, i.e. FCS (ECSA) and MMed Surgery (Mw).

The case studies were so enlightening. I learnt a lot about how to manage patients optimally through the discussions. The interaction with students from other countries broadened my knowledge of managing the same cases in a different way.

I had the privilege of an observership at the teaching hospital in the department of upper gastrointestinal (GI) surgery. I watched a few operations and the knowledge gained is applicable to date.

The team was so welcoming. It included Professor James Garden, Dr Paula Smith and others. I was taken to places and had a farewell dinner.

Most memorable of all events was my graduation ceremony. In fact, my name was specifically mentioned by the Vice-Chancellor as the first Malawian ever to graduate from this course. What an honour was mine!                  

Johnson and Johnson sponsored my programme. As if that were not enough, they gave me an opportunity to present the status quo of surgical practice in Malawi. Besides, I had an opportunity to visit the Johnson and Johnson factory where sutures and other products are manufactured.

Your experiences since leaving the University

I am currently working with the Malawi Defence Force as the army surgeon. I am the only surgeon in the entire army. The Malawi Defence Force is the process of constructing a military hospital. I am the focal person of the project.

The knowledge gained from Edinburgh is immerse. I found it easier to pass my other surgical programmes, i.e. specialist qualifications e.g. FCS (ECSA) and MMed Surgery (Mw) because of the MSc Surgical Sciences qualification.

I am a qualified lecturer in anatomy, physiology and pathology because of this qualification. Besides, I had the opportunity to do research as I had to submit a thesis in partial fulfilment of the MSc programme.

In the upper GI department at the teaching hospital, I learnt how they perform upper GI surgeries including oesophagectomy (removal of all or part of the oesophagus). Compared to Malawi, quite a number of surgeries are laparoscopic (via keyhole surgery). This was a learning point too. In fact I am interested in pursuing laparoscopic surgery training.

Every year I have had the opportunity to tutor the online MSc Surgical Sciences students. I have facilitated discussion boards and marked essays. This has boosted my CV so much and I am confident of lecturing at any university because of this exposure.

I am currently working with the Malawi Defence Force as the army surgeon. I am the only surgeon in the entire army. The Malawi Defence Force is the process of constructing a military hospital. I am the focal person of the project.

Dr Lughano KalongoleraSurgeon

Alumni wisdom

All students pursuing a postgraduate qualification in surgery should consider pursuing the MSc Surgical Sciences programme. You shall not regret it.

Related links

MSc Surgical Sciences (Online Learning)

Watch Dr Kalongolera reflect on his studies on his graduation day (YouTube link - video published Dec 2013)