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The Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has always welcomed African doctors and other health professionals for specialist paediatric training. In 2007, we came together to formalise our approach and set up a new fellowship programme that would create strategic opportunities to bridge the gap in human resources for paediatric health - for and in Africa.

From five fellows a year in 2007 to 50 in 2021, the APFP is a leading provider of specialist and sub-specialist training for African child health professionals. Offering more than standard medical education, we are at the heart of a pan-African movement working to build a better future for Africa’s children.  

It starts with a plan to create multi-disciplinary healthcare teams at partner sites across the continent. From here, each fellowship is a strategic move designed to fill a critical gap in specialist child healthcare – with the APFP offering locally relevant training where no equivalent in-country programme exists.

All fellows and alumni are part of the APFP community, a network of clinicians, educators and leaders with the skills, determination and drive to affect real, long-term change. Graduation is just the first step. As alumni move forward in their careers, APFP and colleagues across the continent are on hand to share expertise and additional support. At the same time, APFP continues to work closely with partner centres to build departmental, institutional and regional capacity for paediatric healthcare, transform service provision, and support the development of local, in-country fellowships. Fellow by fellow, partner by partner – together we can set a new trajectory for the health of Africa’s children. 

How we work

Responding to need, we work together with our partners across Africa to identify critical skill gaps and build multi-disciplinary child healthcare teams.

Collaboration is at the centre of the APFP. Working together with our African partner centres, we set out to create a long-term training plan that works to build specialist, multi-disciplinary teams in child health. Increasingly, nominations for training are a strategic move towards this – with fellows training under the APFP for between six months to four years, depending on the required (sub) specialty.

This process ensures that each fellowship is used to the best possible advantage, that training is aligned to local resources and priorities, and that fellows return home with the skills needed to catalyse change.


We offer specialist and sub-specialist training to strategically selected clinicians where no equivalent in-country programmes exist.

Led by UCT and based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and affiliated teaching facilities, fellowships include medical (MMed/MPhil/PGDip) and allied health programmes (PGDip) as well as electives for trainees from partner training programmes, and tailored non-degree courses.

All fellows are part of the hospital’s clinical team, with training adapted to meet their individual needs and priorities. As well as clinical training, we help fellows build the educational, research, and leadership skills they need to prepare for the responsibility and reality of their role at home. Taking on a supportive role, APFP provides ongoing mentorship and advice as required by individual fellows.


At the heart of a pan-African movement for better child health, each and every fellow is part of a growing network committed to achieving long-term change. 

As educators, we assist and mentor fellows and alumni to find and navigate their own path. Part of a growing network of clinicians, educators and leaders, fellows and alumni regularly collaborate on patient care, service developments, clinical guidelines, research, training, and other professional endeavours.

Alumni are increasingly recognised as key opinion leaders, with many moving into high-level strategic positions – influencing national and regional policy developments and representing African paediatric priorities on the international stage.


Together we are strong, and it is by working alongside our partners that we can amplify and accelerate the rate of change.

As our work gains momentum, the demand for specialist and context-appropriate training is rising. Adjusting our model in response to this need, not only do we support the development of multi-disciplinary teams at partnership centres, we are also working to build capacity for the delivery of local, in-country fellowships and courses. This is an important step that will see the role of the APFP shift in the coming years. We are the catalyst. The start of a unique ripple effect that will see more centres training more people than ever before, and the number of paediatric (sub)specialists in Africa set to rise.