American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2020 ACS-COSECSA Women Scholars Program Winners

To help address the shortage of surgeons in Sub-Saharan Africa, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Operation Giving Back (OGB) program in partnership with the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA), recently launched the Women Scholars Program, which is intended to support women in their surgical residency.

This scholarship is intended to help cover the recipients’ educational expenses, including accreditation, fellowship examination, and five-year membership dues to COSECSA and the ACS.

Nine women scholars from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe were recipients of the 2020 awards:

Bethelehem Yesehak Worku, MD

Bethelehem Yesehak Worku, MD

Dr. Worku was born and raised in Addis Ababa. Following her completed undergraduate studies from Lideta Catholic Cathedral School, Dr. Worku attended medical school at Addis Ababa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in December 2014. Dr. Worku also was awarded “Best Medical Student” from the Ethiopian Medical Association in 2013. She has been a lecturer at the College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, since 2015. Dr. Worku was an exchange student for three months at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, during her internship years. At Karolinska University Hospital, she was exposed to several neurooncology and neurovascular cases, which encouraged her to pursue what seemed like a newly evolving specialty back home. During her neurosurgery residency at Addis Ababa University, Dr. Worku has witnessed the steady progress that her mentors have made in neurosurgery. Her residency at Addis Ababa University provided training in neuro-trauma and pediatric neurosurgery. The hospital is one of the only places for such training in Ethiopia. Aside from her work in medicine, she participates in humanitarian activity. While working for Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Dr. Worku saw patients from rural areas of Ethiopia. Since 2015, she has served as vice-chair of Gojo Ethiopia Temporary Shelter and Accommodation for Patients in Need, a local nongovernmental organization, which shelters 52 patients at a time and provides food and transportation. In 2018, Dr. Worku became a research fellow under the National Institute for Health research group in neuro-trauma and is involved in research on outcomes of traumatic brain injury in low-income countries. During her final year of residency, Dr. Worku served as chief resident of neurosurgery at Addis Ababa University. She will be the third female neurosurgeon in Ethiopia and anticipates her accomplishments will encourage many more in the field.


Eleni Addisu, MD

Eleni Addisu, MD

Dr. Addisu is a graduate of the University of Gondar– College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ethiopia, and is a senior general surgery resident at Bahir Dar University Tibebe Ghion Specialized Hospital, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.


Hiwot Fentahun, MD

Hiwot Fentahun, MD

Dr. Fentahun is a woman surgeon born in Debre Markos, East Gojjam, located 300 kilometers north of the capital city Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Fentahun graduated medical school from Adama University, Asella Campus, in 2014, and was awarded a gold medal for her academic success. After serving in the surgery department, University Hospital, Asella Campus Hospital, for one year, Dr. Fentahun joined the general surgery residency program at Addis Ababa University, Tikur Anbessa Hospital, and completed the program in 2019. She is now a general surgeon at Arsi University, Asella Hospital, surgery department, and intends to continue training in cardiac surgery. She is married and has two sons.


Meron Berhanu, MD

Dr. Berhanu was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and graduated in 2015 from the Gondar–College of Medicine and Health Sciences during her undergraduate studies. In 2016, Dr. Berhanu joined the institution’s general surgery residency program and completed her training in 2020. During residency, Dr. Berhanu particularly enjoyed working in the orthopaedic department and in endocrine surgery.


Nang’andu Malungo, MD

Nang’andu Malungo, MD

Dr. Malungo is a plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon who graduated from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 2020. She previously had obtained her undergraduate medical degree from the University of Zambia, Lusaka. The scope of her experience includes aesthetic surgery, a fast-growing field of surgery in Africa. She has worked with vulnerable children by offering free cleft lip and palate operations through organizations such as Smile Train, Deutsche Cleft Kinderhilfe, and the Kenya Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. A trailblazer and researcher in the field, Dr. Malungo is a contributing author of the Wound Care Manual and has participated in landmark replantation operations following penile and hand amputations at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya, in her residency. She now is pursuing a fellowship with the COSECSA.


Netsanet Mengasha Gebregiorgis, MD

Dr. Gebregiorgis completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Jimma College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ethiopia, in 2013 and is a general surgery resident at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa. Dr. Gebregiorgis was inspired to become a trauma surgeon after learning that her father’s cause of death was likely cardiac injury resulting from multiple broken ribs in his left chest and asking herself what could have been done differently.


Precious Gamuchirai Mutambanengwe, MBChB

Precious Gamuchirai Mutambanengwe, MBChB

Dr. Mutambanengwe obtained her MBChB degree from the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, in 2012 and is now a fifth-year COSECSA pediatric surgery trainee. Dr. Mutambanengwe has been the surgery registrar, department of surgery, Harare Central Hospital, since 2015. She was the 2019 president of the Zimbabwe Association of Surgeons in Training and now serves as a committee member for the Surgical Society of Zimbabwe. Dr. Mutambanengwe also is a mentor with the Cultiv8 Africa organization.


Tracern Mugodo, MD

Dr. Mugodo grew up in a small town in an eastern region of Zimbabwe. She graduated from a local all-girls mission boarding school and was successfully admitted into medical school, graduating in 2014. Following her acceptance as a member of COSECSA, Dr. Mugodo passed her fellowship entry exams and became a fellow in orthopaedic and trauma surgery. She is the first woman Zimbabweantrained resident in orthopaedics. Dr. Mugodo now is in her final year of her fellowship program at Parirenyatwa General Hospital, Harare, the largest medical center in Zimbabwe. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and traveling with family.


Wanjiku Njongo, MD

Dr. Njongo was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and attended the Alliance Girls’ High School in Kikuyu, Kenya, until 2004. Upon completing her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees in 2011, Dr. Njongo trained as an intern at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi. She studied for a Master of Medicine degree in orthopaedic surgery from 2014 to 2019 and is a lecturer in the department of surgery at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi. Dr. Njongo also is a facilitator of a foot and ankle project in conjunction with the Steps2Walk foundation, which brings foot and ankle surgeons from around the world to operate on patients and train orthopaedic surgeons.


Congratulations to this year’s winners!