Mark Szymankiewicz is a Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon based at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. Passionate about global health, he is the founder and trustee of the charity SWIFTSS (Surgical Teams Working In aFrica Together for Safer Surgery). He is also a Visiting Lecturer and Fellow at the University of Winchester Centre for Global Health.
Together with wife Kate, and their three children he lived in Muheza, Tanzania for 5 months (Nov ’18 – Apr ’19) where they worked at St Augustine’s Designated District Hospital. During that time, Mark helped develop the surgical services at the hospital including setting up a sustainable mesh hernia service using ‘mosquito net’ mesh. Whilst firmly committed to Muheza at that time, curiosity also led him to travel the country and briefly visit other healthcare institutions, with a view to developing a better understanding of the overall healthcare system within which he worked.
Struck by the raw need, inspired by the potential, and convinced by the plausible reality of wider surgical development in Tanzania, he engaged with the TSA (Tanzanian Surgical Association). This relationship and collaboration with other stakeholder parties has led to the development of SWIFTSS to help support, fund and thus enable such work. Their flagship project is the Tanzania National Mesh Hernia Project which aims to enable the wider development of similar mesh hernia services throughout Tanzania (and perhaps further afield).