The African Pediatric Fellowship Training Program in Pediatric Pulmonology: A Model for Growing African Capacity in Child Lung Health
Childhood respiratory diseases are the major cause of mortality and morbidity in African children. However, there is limited expertise in pediatric pulmonology in Africa. The African Pediatric Fellowship Program (APFP) was developed in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Cape Town in partnership with African academic institutions beyond South Africa to promote training of African child health professionals and to build capacity. From 2008 to 2016, 11 fellows have completed APFP training in pediatric pulmonology. Fellows have come from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda. All but one returned to their home institutions, where they are building academic departments, improving clinical service delivery, growing research capacity, and advancing advocacy and policies to improve child lung health. In parallel, training of South African pediatric pulmonologists has been strengthened with a further nine South African fellows trained during this period. The African Pediatric Pulmonology program provides a highly successful model, with high retention of graduates in their home countries. The long-term goal is to grow African clinical capacity and strengthen services, research, training, and advocacy for child lung health in Africa.