Background: Disparities in the global availability of operating theatres, essential surgical equipment and surgically trained providers are profound. Although efforts are ongoing to increase surgical care and training, little is known about the surgical capacity in developing countries. The aim of this study was to create a baseline for surgical development planning at a national level.

21st June 2016 • comment

Background: More than 90% of injury deaths occur in low-income countries where a shortage of personnel, infrastructure, and materials challenge health system strengthening efforts. Trauma registries developed regionally have been used previously for injury surveillance in resource-limited settings, but scant outcomes data exist.

21st June 2016 • comment

As surgical training and capacity increase in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), new strategies for improving surgical education and care in resource-poor settings are required. Non-technical skills (NTS) have been identified as critical to high-quality surgical performance in high-income countries (HICs), but little is known about the NTS used by surgeons in LMICs. This study aims to identify the non-technical skills used by surgeons operating in a LMIC context.

21st June 2016 • comment

Injury is a leading cause of death in many limited resource settings. This study aimed to measure the quality of trauma care at the largest referral hospitals in Rwanda, the University Teaching Hospitals in Kigali and Butare,compared to international trauma care standards.

21st June 2016 • comment

Injury remains a leading cause of death worldwide with a disproportionate impact in the developing world. Capabilities for trauma care remain limited in these settings. Previous attempts have been made to assess basic trauma resources but have been limited to essential care. We propose the implementation of the International Assessment of Capacity for Trauma (INTACT) index, which incorporates surgical capacity beyond initial resuscitation.

21st June 2016 • comment

Necrotizing fasciitis is an infectious process characterized by rapidly progressing necrosis of superficial fascia and subcutaneous tissue with subsequent necrosis of overlying skin. Necrotizing fasciitis is a rare but fatal infection. The worldwide incidence is at 0.4 per 100,000. Mortality is up to 80% with no intervention, and 30-50% with intervention. Delay in intervention is associated with poor outcome. The risk factors for necrotizing fasciitis are diabetes mellitus, HIV, malignancy, illicit drug use, malnutrition among others. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical presentation and early outcomes of necrotizing fasciitis amongst Ugandan patients.

21st June 2016 • comment

Major trauma is a major public health problem. It is the leading cause of death in people from the age of 1–40, accounting for one in ten deaths overall, and leads to significant morbidity.1 Over the last 40 years many countries in the developed world have developed regionalised trauma systems to improve the survival rates of their patients who sustain traumatic injury.

21st June 2016 • comment

Surgical care has made limited inroads on the public health and global health agendas despite increasing data showing the enormous need. The objective of this study was to survey interested members of a global surgery community to identify patterns of thought regarding barriers to political priority.

21st June 2016 • comment

Disease amenable to surgical intervention accounts for 11-15 % of world disability and there is increasing interest in surgery as a global public health issue. National HealthStrategic Plans (NHSPs) reflect countries' long-term health priorities, plans and targets. These plans were analysed to assess the prioritisation of surgery as a public health issue inAfrica.NHSPs of 43 independent Sub-Saharan African countries available in the public domain in March 2014 in French or English were searched electronically for key terms: surg*, ortho*, trauma, cancer, appendic*, laparotomy, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria. They were then searched manually for disease prevalence, targets, and human resources.19 % of NHSPs had no mentionof surgery or surgical conditions. 63 % had five or less mentions of surgery. HIV and malaria had 3772 mentions across all the policies, compared to surgery with only 376 mentions. Trauma had 239 mentions, while the common surgical conditions of appendicitis, laparotomy and hernia had no mentions at all. Over 95 % of NHSPs specifically mentioned the prevalence of HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, infant mortality and maternal mortality. Whereas, the most commonly mentioned surgical condition for which a prevalence was given was trauma, in only 47 % of policies. All NHSPs had plans and measurable targets for the reduction of HIV and tuberculosis. Of the total 4064 health targets, only 2 % were related to surgical conditions or surgical care. 33 % of policies had no surgical targets.NHSPs are the best available measure of health service and planning priorities. It is clear from our findings that surgery is poorly represented and that surgical conditions and surgical treatment are not widely recognised as a public health priority. Greater prioritisation of surgery in national health strategic policies is required to build resilient surgical systems. Read the full article here.

21st June 2016 • comment

Abstract: Background Surgical care needs in low-resource countries are increasingly recognised as an important aspect of global health, yet data for the size of the problem are insufficient. The Surgeons OverSeas Assessment of Surgical Need (SOSAS) is a population-based cluster survey previously used in Nepal, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. Methods Using previously published SOSAS data from three resource-poor countries (Nepal, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone), a weighted average of overall prevalence of surgically treatable conditions was estimated and the number of deaths that could have been avoided by providing access to surgical care was calculated for the broader community of low-resource countries. Such conditions included, but were not limited to, injuries (road traffic incidents, falls, burns, and gunshot or stab wounds), masses (solid or soft, reducible), deformities (congenital or acquired), abdominal distention, and obstructed delivery. Population and health expenditure per capita data were obtained from the World Bank. Low-resource countries were defined as those with a per capita health expenditure of US$100 or less annually. The overall prevalence estimate from the previously published SOSAS data was extrapolated to each low-resource country. Using crude death rates for each country and the calculated proportion of avoidable deaths, a total number of deaths possibly averted in the previous year with access to appropriate surgical care was calculated. Findings The overall prevalence of surgically treatable conditions was 11·16% (95% CI 11·15–11·17) and 25·6% (95% CI 25·4–25·7) of deaths were potentially avoidable by providing access to surgical care. Using these percentages for the 48 low-resource countries, an estimated 288·2 million people are living with a surgically treatable condition and 5·6 million deaths could be averted annually by the provision of surgical care. In the Nepal SOSAS study, the observed agreement between self-reported verbal responses and visual physical examination findings was 94·6%. Such high correlation helps to validate the SOSAS tool. Interpretation Hundreds of millions of people with surgically treatable conditions live in low-resource countries, and about 25% of the mortality annually could be avoided with better access to surgical care. Strengthening surgical care must be considered when strengthening health systems and in setting future sustainable development goals. Funding None.

21st June 2016 • comment