In recognition of his great contribution to surgery Professor Krikor Erzingatsian was conferred an Honourary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the highest honour this College has to offer.
Great philanthropist Professor Erzingatsian has devoted his life to improving healthcare, to the education, training and mentoring of surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa.
He was born in Ethiopia, in an Armenian family that had fled the Armenian Genocide. His secondary education was in North Wales, then he entered Medical School in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1963. During this time he won several prizes and undertook Higher Surgical Training in several hospitals in Dublin.
Following surgical training in Ireland he returned to Africa where he spent most of his clinical career as a surgeon in Lusaka, Zambia. He held a number of key administrative posts and was appointed Professor of Surgery in the University of Zambia in 1999. He was also President of the Surgical Society of Zambia.
His educational activities during this time are too numerous to mention but the thematic approach was to promote and advance the cause of surgery and surgical training in East, Central and Southern Africa. He has published extensively in topics very relevant to the local delivery of surgical practice including the importance of local anaesthesia and ketamine, the management of sepsis and trauma and also a recognition of the cancer burden in Africa.
Professor Erzingatsian then entered into a remarkable new phase in his career. The recognition of the need for a normal structure of surgical training in Africa resulted in the creation of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). Professor Erzingatsian was a driving force behind the creation of this College. He is the longest serving member of its Council and was its Vice-President, President and now is Registrar.
His tireless energy helped nurture the young College and achieve success. For his great contribution to the rapid development of the College, Professor Erzingatsian was awarded an Honourary Fellowship of COSECSA in 2012.
Thanks to the efforts of Professor Erzingatsian, the COSECSA started a deep collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2007. It provides for staffing and resources, curricula, educational tools, accreditation and quality assurance processes.
During the last number of years, a professional secretariat has been put in place, great numbert of surgical trainers have received training, a mobile skills training unit has been delivered and an Africa-centric surgical e-learning platform has been established along with a bespoke electronic logbook and a database of every surgeon in the region. There has been a very substantial increase in the number of surgeons trained across the region, along with non-physicians, who have been trained in basic surgical techniques, in rural Zimbabwe, Zambia and Rwanda.
Professor Erzingatsian goes to Armenia on a regular basis to do charitable surgical work.