Surgical care in the developing world-strategies and framework for improvement

Submitted: 1 March 2013
Accepted: 21 October 2013
Published: 3 December 2013
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  • Olusola O. Akenroye Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States.
  • Olumuyiwa T. Adebona Division of Ophthalmology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.
  • Ayobami T. Akenroye Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, United States.
The purpose of this study was to identify the various problems with surgical care in the developing world and enumerate identified strategies or propose solutions. We also sought to rank these strategies in order of potential impact. The MEDLINE database was sought. Studies published in English, reporting currently employed solutions to identified barriers or problems to surgical care in developing countries or potential solution(s) and published between 2000 and 2012 were eligible for inclusion. 2156 articles were identified for possible inclusion. MeSH terms include surgery, general surgery, developing countries, health services accessibility and quality improvement. Forty-nine full articles with a primary focus on the solutions to the challenges to surgical care in the developing world were included in the final review. Many articles identified problems with infrastructure, workforce shortage, inadequate or inappropriate policies, and poor financing as major problems with healthcare in the developing world. Solutions addressing these problems are multifactorial and would require active participation of local authorities and collaboration with providers from the developed world. The burden of surgical care is increasing. There is poor access to surgical services in the developing world. If and when surgical care is received, the quality could be less than the standard in developed nations. Solutions exist to tackle these problems but require a multidimensional approach to be successful.

Supporting Agencies


Akenroye, O. O., Adebona, O. T., & Akenroye, A. T. (2013). Surgical care in the developing world-strategies and framework for improvement. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 4(2), e20.


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