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Professor Kokila Lakhoo

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

To close paediatrics month we have an interview with Professor Kokila Lakhoo. We are so grateful to Professor Lakhoo for her valuable perspective on global surgery, built over many years of voluntary work and a wealth of experience in the field.

Professor Kokila Lakhoo is a consultant paediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital in Oxford and the University of Oxford. She is an active clinician with huge clinical experience and all her research and global work is voluntary and done on her own time. Recently she received an honorary professorship from University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa and Muhimbili University, Tanzania. She is director of a global surgery course for Oxford University and represents Oxford University for children’s global surgery matters. She is chair of the international forum for the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons and is personally developing paediatric surgery through a link in Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. She is the president of Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS) that has followed on from the Lancet Commission. She is editor of 4 books including a recent joint venture with her African colleague as editor to a text book namely "Paediatric Surgery: a comprehensive text for Africa" (publisher global- help publishers). She has to date contributed to 71 chapters to paediatric surgical text books and has over 300 peer reviewed publications.

PhD, FRCS (Edin+Eng), FCS(SA), FCS(PAE)


Key Papers

Take a few minutes to read the papers mentioned below by Professor Lakhoo, including an article summarising her ongoing work in Tanzania.

Lessons from developing, implementing and sustaining a participatory partnership for children’s surgical care in Tanzania

Read via the link below or find the PDF here.

Reducing Gastroschisis Mortality: A Quality Improvement Initiative at a Ugandan Pediatric Surgery Unit

Read via the link below or find the PDF here.


Interview with Professor Lakhoo

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Married to a non medic and have 2 daughters.

What does a typical working day look like for you?

Wake up at 5pm, do yoga as taught by my dad when I was a child, spicy tea with husband and get to work at 7h00. Clear emails and join handover at 7h45, followed by ward rounds. The rest is theatre, clinic, emergencies, teaching, MDT etc depending on the day of the week. Finish by 6 or 7pm and return home to start cooking jointly with husband, supper, chat. Once family asleep do global or research work until 10h00. Some days wake up at 4h00 if many deadlines.

Can you tell us about your research interests? 

Neonatal conditions and global surgery 

What is the paper you are most proud of and why?

Attached (Tanzania). It summarises my 18 years and ongoing commitment to paediatric surgery in Tanzania.

Why?: it empowers local colleagues

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Empowering local colleagues in global surgery. The paper mentioned above and the other one on gastroschisis in Uganda are testament to my believes.

What do you see as being the biggest success in global surgery in recent years? There is no success until you empower local colleagues. A lot of global surgery is about HIC and their work.

What do you believe are the most pressing issues in global surgery currently? Capacity building, developing local leadership and empowering local health workers. A lot of funds are with HIC and driven and wasted by HIC driven ideas rather than what is needed on the ground. Listen to local colleagues.

If you could, what advice would you have given to yourself as a medical student?

Stay focused and believe in yourself.

Which historical figure do you most admire and why?

Nelson Mandela: A visionary with a lot of hope. Believed in education for all and forgave without forgetting.


Our final thanks to Professor Lakhoo, and watch this space for discussion on OMFS in May!

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