International surgery and the University of Connecticut experience: lessons from a short-term surgical mission.
BACKGROUND: Surgery is gradually gaining recognition within the international public health community as an essential component to sustainable improvements in health care in resource-poor areas. In this article, we document the University of Connecticut experience with international surgical missions, and we offer avenues for optimization of these efforts. METHODS: A one-week elective trip to San José de Chiquitos, Bolivia to provide essential general surgical care to a rural, underserved population. We collaborated with local health-care personnel in both intraoperative and perioperative care. RESULTS: Forty-one major cases were performed over a week-long period. The majority of cases were open cholecystectomy, but a variety of emergency and elective surgical cases were performed. There were no postoperative complications over a three-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: International surgical trips are an essential component of public health initiatives abroad; surgery can provide a vital role in the health care of underserved populations. Few domestic programs have formal international surgical curricula within the residency program; we offer beneficial results based on a short-term model. Future studies should focus on the development of sustainable, surgical programs that focus on education of local health-care personnel in underserved regions.
Hughes, C; Zani, S; O'Connell, B; Daoud, I
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