Thozama Siyotula is a medical doctor whose main focus is paediatric surgery. She is also the president of the South African Paediatric Surgical Trainees Association.
Siyotula wants to see all children in South Africa, regardless of socioeconomic status, being able to access surgical care. She says that, according to research by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery, 5-billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical care. The majority of these people live in low-resource settings, where up to 50% of the population is children.
She wants to achieve a vision of safe, affordable, timely surgical care for all children by being a part of patient advocacy, continuing to conduct research that measures gaps and addresses impact to accomplish success in delivery and providing healthcare in the paediatric surgery sector. Ultimately, Siyotula wants to assist South Africa in the promotion of health.
She says her job has taught her that being a health practitioner is not not only about patient-doctor interaction, but encampasses working in a system that may at times be “dysfunctional” while a doctor tries to provide the best possible healthcare.
Her advice to young people is that, “It’s going to be okay. Be strong in your convictions, consistent in your word, influential in your conversations. Be a part of what gives you value. Achievable dreams take hard work and commitment.”