• Operative mortality in resource-limited settings: the experience of Medecins Sans Frontieres in 13 countries.

      Chu, K M; Ford, N; Trelles, M; Medecines Sans Frontieres (2010-08)
      OBJECTIVE: To determine operative mortality in surgical programs from resource-limited settings. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective cohort study of 17 surgical programs in 13 developing countries by 1 humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, was performed between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2008. Participants included patients undergoing surgical procedures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Operative mortality. Determinants of mortality were modeled using logistic regression. RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2008, 19,643 procedures were performed on 18,653 patients. Among these, 8329 procedures (42%) were emergent; 7933 (40%) were for obstetric-related pathology procedures and 2767 (14%) were trauma related. Operative mortality was 0.2% (31 deaths) and was associated with programs in conflict settings (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.6; P = .001), procedures performed under emergency conditions (AOR = 20.1; P = .004), abdominal surgical procedures (AOR = 3.4; P = .003), hysterectomy (AOR = 12.3; P = .001), and American Society of Anesthesiologists classifications of 3 to 5 (AOR = 20.2; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Surgical care can be provided safely in resource-limited settings with appropriate minimum standards and protocols. Studies on the burden of surgical disease in these populations are needed to improve service planning and delivery. Quality improvement programs are needed for the various stakeholders involved in surgical delivery in these settings.
    • Providing surgical care in Somalia: A model of task shifting.

      Chu, K M; Ford, N P; Trelles, M; Médecins sans Frontières, 49 Jorrisen St, Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg, South Africa. kathryn_chu@yahoo.com. (2011-07)
      ABSTRACT:
    • Quality of Care in Humanitarian Surgery

      Chu, K M; Trelles, M; Ford, N P; Médecins Sans Frontières-South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; Médecins Sans Frontières–Belgium, Brussels, Belgium (2011-04-13)
      Humanitarian surgical programs are set up de novo, within days or hours in emergency or disaster settings. In such circumstances, insuring quality of care is extremely challenging. Basic structural inputs such as a safe structure, electricity, clean water, a blood bank, sterilization equipment, a post-anesthesia recovery unit, appropriate medications should be established. Currently, no specific credentials are needed for surgeons to operate in a humanitarian setting; the training of more humanitarian surgeons is desperately needed. Standard perioperative protocols for the humanitarian setting after common procedures such as Cesarean section, burn care, open fractures, and amputations and antibiotic prophylaxis, and post-operative pain management must be developed. Outcome data, especially long-term outcomes, are difficult to collect as patients often do not return for follow-up and may be difficult to trace; standard databases for post-operative infections and mortality rates should be established. Checklists have recently received significant attention as an instrument to support the improvement of surgical quality; knowing which items are most applicable to humanitarian settings remains unknown. In conclusion, the quality of surgical services in humanitarian settings must be regulated. Many other core medical activities of humanitarian organizations such as therapeutic feeding, mass vaccination, and the treatment of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus, are subject to rigorous reporting of quality indicators. There is no reason why surgery should be exempted from quality oversight. The surgical humanitarian community should pull together before the next disaster strikes.