Feb 25, 2011

Surgeon Shortages Leave Billions without Access to Life-Saving Surgery


Currently, over two billion people lack adequate access to life-saving surgical procedures. 75% of surgeries performed annually are done on those from higher-income regions, while the world’s poorest third accounts for only 4% of surgeries performed, according to a 2010 Harvard University School of Public Health study.

A 2010 medical survey of eight district hospitals in Uganda reveals the problem is the absence of surgeons and anesthetists. In 2008, Uganda had 10 specialist surgeons and 350 anesthetists for a population of over 30 million. In Mali, a Gabriel Touré Hospital surgeon said there were three paediatric surgeons to service approximately 2.2 million under-five children. In the health centers surveyed, non-doctors carried out half of all surgical procedures; developing nations are forced to rely on international doctors, NGOs, visiting humanitarian projects, and mid-level health workers and nurses.

This severe shortage plays a part in maternal/neonatal mortality rate, as facilities are ill-equipped to provide life-saving procedures during difficult births. For example, of the facilities surveyed only 44% offered Cesarean sections. Life for Mothers is working to improve health care systems through the training of Village Health Teams, who will offer pre- and post-natal medical support to mothers and infants, and through improving access to better-equipped health clinics, principally Mwera Health Clinic in Uganda’s Mityana district.

For the full article, click here: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=91980

Did you know?

Almost every minute, a woman dies related to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Source:United Nations Department of Public Information

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