Annual Meeting Home Past & Future Meetings

Back to 2011 Program


Surgical Care in Developing Countries- The Limitations of Volunteerism
Michael Curci
Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME

Background: In 2008, a project in Western Tanzania was undertaken to develop an infrastructure to meet the needs of the rural population using non-physician clinicians known as Assistant Medical Officers who have 5 years of training after high school.
Methods: The project was designed to provide comprehensive emergency obstetrical care including the ability to perform emergency C-sections. In each center, infrastructure was expanded to provide an operating room, a maternity ward, a laboratory with a blood bank and transport capability. An educational program for Assistant Medical Officers, supervised by 2 MD non-Tanzanian surgeons, included a 3-month course in advanced obstetrical care as well as basic surgical care. Nurse midwives also received a 3-month course in spinal and general anesthesia. After training, each participant completed a 1 month internship and then returned to a regional health center with a contractual commitment to practice for a minimum of 2 years.
Results: At a 2-year follow-up, the graduate trainees are performing C-sections and basic general surgical procedures with morbidity and mortality rates comparable to those in the district/regional hospitals. This has reduced referrals over long distances and has decreased maternal complications as well as providing improved health care.
Conclusions. In this unique model in Tanzania, non-physician clinicians provide the majority of care in rural settings and a directed educational program has allowed them to expand their role to meet the population's surgical needs. This system, developed by non-Tanzanian volunteer physicians supercedes the usual limitations of surgical volunteerism which although well-intentioned, often focuses on short term sophisticated Western interventions in urban settings and may have limited application to the larger population in need.


Back to 2011 Program

 



IMPORTANT DATES
Abstract Submission Deadline:
May 5, 2014

Housing Deadline:
August 13, 2014

Early Bird Registration Deadline:
August 11, 2014
© 2018 New England Surgical Society. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.