The Discovery Foundation, a leading independent trust committed to advancing academic medicine and research in South Africa, is delighted to announce that Professor Salome Maswime, a recipient of the Discovery Foundation Massachusetts General Hospital Award in 2018, has been honored with the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) – South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Clinician-Physician Award. This prestigious accolade recognizes Prof Maswime’s outstanding contributions to the field of Global Surgery in Africa, particularly her relentless efforts to drive equity, enhance access to care, and reduce maternal mortality associated with caesarean sections in South Africa.
Prof Salome Maswime is a distinguished obstetrician and gynaecologist, currently serving as the Head of Global Surgery at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Recently, she presented at the UCT Inaugural Lecture series, captivating the audience with her lecture titled “From caesarean section related complications to global surgical systems strengthening.” Her groundbreaking research in maternal health has garnered significant recognition, including the Trailblazer and Young Achiever awards bestowed upon her by the President of South Africa in 2017.
As an avid advocate for women’s health rights and equitable access to surgical and maternal care, Prof Maswime also holds prominent leadership roles within the medical community. She serves as the President of the South African Clinician Scientists Society, chairs the Health Systems Trust Board, and provides advisory and consulting services to prestigious institutions, including the World Health Organization.
In response to receiving the NSTF-SAMRC Clinician-Physician Award, Prof Maswime humbly expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the support of the Discovery Foundation, stating, “I am incredibly humbled to receive this award and am proud to have the Discovery Foundation’s backing.”
Dr. Vincent Maphai, the Chairperson of the Discovery Foundation, lauded Prof Maswime’s groundbreaking research and expertise in maternal healthcare. He praised her contributions, saying, “Professor Maswime’s research is about access to safe, timely obstetric surgery and birth outcomes. She is a global expert when it comes to maternal healthcare and has pioneered an academic programme in Global Surgery.”
According to a global study conducted by the World Health Organization, caesarean sections now account for more than 1 in 5 (21%) of all childbirths worldwide. While C-sections can be life-saving surgeries for both mothers and newborns, Africa faces disproportionately high maternal mortality rates following caesarean procedures, estimated to be 50 times higher than those in high-income countries. Prof Maswime’s work aims to address this disparity and ensure safe and effective maternal healthcare for all.
The Discovery Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of academic medicine and research in South Africa for 17 years, investing over R300 million to train predominantly black medical specialists and promote research and development. Their commitment to improving healthcare access in underserved areas has been evident through the support provided for the training of specialists in rural regions and the establishment of academic medicine and research centers.
Dr. Maphai proudly spoke of the Discovery Foundation Alumni, a growing cohort of exceptional academic doctors and specialists, including Prof Salome Maswime. He emphasized that the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Fellowship Award, which Prof Maswime received in 2018, aims to foster the next generation of leaders in academic and clinical medicine in South Africa by connecting medical scientists from local medical schools with global clinical science leaders at the renowned medical institution.
To achieve its mission of contributing to the future health and well-being of all South Africans and ensuring affordable, quality healthcare is accessible to all, the Discovery Foundation continues to fund medical specialists in its program. The Foundation has set an ambitious target of training and supporting 600 medical specialists and institutions by 2026, with over 400 awards already granted to predominantly black medical specialists in the public sector from 2006 to 2021.
In August 2023, the Discovery Foundation will celebrate the accomplishments of over 40 medical specialists at its prestigious awards ceremony, highlighting their crucial contributions to healthcare and academic medicine in South Africa.
The Discovery Foundation’s recognition and support for Prof Salome Maswime’s pioneering research in Global Surgery is a testament to their dedication to fostering transformative change in the field of medical science and ensuring a brighter and healthier future for all South Africans.
About Discovery Foundation
The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust dedicated to advancing academic medicine and research in South Africa. Over the past 17 years, the Foundation has invested more than R300 million in training predominantly black medical specialists and promoting research and development. Their vision is to increase the number of specialists available to meet the healthcare needs of the country adequately. By supporting the training of specialists for rural areas and establishing academic medicine and research centers, the Discovery Foundation aims to contribute to the future health and well-being of all South Africans.