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New Data and Reports Turn Eye to Global Surgery Gap | 

A technological innovation (the iPad) a well designed survey (cluster randomization) and young health workers are the backbone of an important new study on surgery. Some might expect the combination of resources to be applied in a middle or high income nation, but a team has come together to provide a historic snapshot of untreated surgical conditions in Sierra Leone that was published in The Lancet last week.

The survey determined that 25% of respondents needed surgical care and 25% of deaths in the previous year attributable to a condition that could have been treated through surgery. In other words, surgery is needed by a significant number of people today and such services can avoid preventable deaths.

“Once, I operated on a 3 year old girl in Malawi who had fallen from a balcony and was in a coma. She needed holes drilled in her skull to release a blood clot. She survived and made a full recovery even though initially he father said that type of surgery couldn’t be done in Malawi,” said Dr Adam Kushner, one of the study’s authors.  ”Many obstacles exist from a lack of skilled providers, incuding personnel and training and the lack of supplies or equipment.  Populations also lack the knowledge to seek surgical care or don’t trust the health system.” Continue reading