History of Neurosurgery in Kenya, East Africa

Neurosurgery, in one form or another, has a long tradition in Kenya. Early skull trepanations in Kenya were reported by previous studies, which reveal that these procedures have a long tradition, being passed down from generation to generation.

Modern neurosurgical development in Kenya has its origins in the late 1940s when the first elective neurosurgical procedures were performed by Dr. J. F. Jarvis, Chief of Head and Neck Surgery at the now Kenyatta National Hospital, when he operated on anterior encephaloceles, and later also performed anterior third ventriculostomies for hydrocephalus.

Formal neurosurgery developed from these initial steps, with the arrival of the first trained specialist, Dr. Renato Ruberti, whose pioneering efforts resulted in the founding of the Neurological Society of Kenya (NSK), the Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences (PAANS), and the African Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (AFNS). The last quarter of the 20th century has seen the progress of neurosurgery reach its present respectable levels, with dedicated and well-trained Kenyan neurosurgical specialists focusing not only on its practice but diligently pursuing its development.

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