About our speaker
Lydia Cairncross is Professor and Head of Department of Surgery at the University of Cape Town/Groote Schuur Hospital Academic Complex. She is a recognised national leader and published scholar in her subspecialist field of surgery, playing a key role in developing context appropriate national policy guidelines for breast cancer and endocrine surgical conditions and spearheading innovative systems-based research into promoting earlier diagnosis of cancer. She has engaged with civil society and philanthropic organisations such as Project Flamingo, PinkDrive and Gift of the Givers, to expand access to surgical care for public sector patients.
In parallel to her professional work as a surgeon, Professor Cairncross has been involved in campaigning for the right to health, and improvements in the quality and accessibility of health care throughout her medical career. This work has included participation in the Treatment Action Campaign and the People’s Health Movement of South Africa. She has contributed to the public discourse on health policy in the country, including the NHI proposal, and runs community training on understanding the need for a strong, well-resourced and community centred public health service.
As the Head of Department of Surgery, Professor Cairncross strives to bring to the Department of Surgery both the lens of her sub specialist surgical expertise, as well as a strong public health and equity perspective. Her vision for the Department of Surgery is to be service orientated, to lead in innovation and to create a seamless pathway to surgical care which connects communities to excellent primary, secondary and high complexity tertiary care.