Apr 04 2024

Dr. Neil R Wetzig

Vice President of the Permanent Council

Dr. Neil Wetzig, – AO; MBBS; FRACS; FRCS(Eng); FCS(ECSA), is an Australian General Surgeon and ‘Consultant and Advisor of Surgical Training Programs’ at HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. He is Emeritus Senior Surgeon at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. His association with Africa commenced in 2003 and since 2006 he has led AusHEAL multi-disciplinary medical teams to Goma, DR Congo, to teach and train clinical staff. In 2015, Neil intentionally finished his surgical practice in Brisbane, Australia to spend more time volunteering in DRC to expand teaching and training in the east of the country. He and his wife Gwen now live and work at least 6 months of each year in Congo. He is a member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) International Engagement Committee, and examiner in General Surgery for RACS and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

Neil represents HEAL Africa as a Member of the Permanent Council of the G4 Alliance for Surgery, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anaesthesia Care – and in November 2022 was elected to Vice-President of the Permanent Council for 2023-2024 to become President for 2025-2026.

In 2016, Neil along with Congolese colleagues, commenced at HEAL Africa Hospital, an MCS essential and emergency surgical training program with the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), the first such program in Congo. In 2023, AusHEAL, the Australian charity that supports their work in DRC in partnership with HEAL Africa, commenced under Neil and Gwen’s direction, a course to provide practical training and upskilling in Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care for Congolese doctors working in rural areas as they are the providers of much of the SOTA Care in the region but often they have received little if any practical training. Importantly, much of the course is taught to Congolese by Congolese specialists in their own language. Results from the course have been encouraging.

Both Neil and his wife Gwen were appointed Officers of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for “distinguished service to the international community of the Democratic Republic of Congo through medical support, teaching and training programs.”


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