• Improving Effective Surgical Delivery in Humanitarian Disasters: Lessons from Haiti

      Chu, K; Stokes, C; Trelles, M; Ford, N; Médecins sans Frontières, Cape Town, South Africa; Medecins sans Frontieres, Brussels, Belgium; Medecins sans Frontieres, Geneva, Switzerland (2011-04-26)
      Kathryn Chu and colleagues describe the experiences of Médecins sans Frontières after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and discuss how to improve delivery of surgery in humanitarian disasters.
    • 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.
    • Rethinking surgical care in conflict.

      Chu, K; Trelles, M; Ford, N; Médecins Sans Frontières, Braamfontein 2017, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. (2010-01-23)
    • Surgical care for the direct and indirect victims of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Chu, K; Havet, P; Ford, N; Trelles, M (2010-04-14)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The provision of surgical assistance in conflict is often associated with care for victims of violence. However, there is an increasing appreciation that surgical care is needed for non-traumatic morbidities. In this paper we report on surgical interventions carried out by Medecins sans Frontieres in Masisi, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo to contribute to the scarce evidence base on surgical needs in conflict. METHODS: We analysed data on all surgical interventions done at Masisi district hospital between September 2007 to December 2009. Types of interventions are described, and logistic regression used to model associations with violence-related injury. RESULTS: 2869 operations were performed on 2441 patients. Obstetric emergencies accounted for over half (675, 57%) of all surgical pathology and infections for another quarter (160, 14%). Trauma-related injuries accounted for only one quarter (681, 24%) of all interventions; among these, 363 (13%) were violence-related. Male gender (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=20.0, p<0.001), military status (AOR=4.1, p<0.001), and age less than 20 years (AOR=2.1, p<0.001) were associated with violence-related injury. Immediate peri-operative mortality was 0.2%. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, most surgical interventions were unrelated to violent trauma and rather reflected the general surgical needs of a low-income tropical country. Programs in conflict zones in low-income countries need to be prepared to treat both the war-wounded and non-trauma related life-threatening surgical needs of the general population. Given the limited surgical workforce in these areas, training of local staff and task shifting is recommended to support broad availability of essential surgical care. Further studies into the surgical needs of the population are warranted, including population-based surveys to improve program planning and resource allocation and the effectiveness of the humanitarian response.
    • Surgical task shifting in Sub-Saharan Africa.

      Chu, K; Rosseel, P; Gielis, P; Ford, N; Médecins Sans Frontières, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. kathryn.chu@joburg.msf.org (PLoS, 2009-05-19)
    • Ten Years of Experience Training Non-Physician Anesthesia Providers in Haiti.

      Rosseel, P; Trelles, M; Guilavogui, S; Ford, N; Chu, K; Médecins Sans Frontières, rue Dupré 94, 1090, Brussels, Belgium. (2009-08-06)
      Surgery is increasingly recognized as an effective means of treating a proportion of the global burden of disease, especially in resource-limited countries. Often non-physicians, such as nurses, provide the majority of anesthesia; however, their training and formal supervision is often of low priority or even non-existent. To increase the number of safe anesthesia providers in Haiti, Médecins Sans Frontières has trained nurse anesthetists (NAs) for over 10 years. This article describes the challenges, outcomes, and future directions of this training program. From 1998 to 2008, 24 students graduated. Nineteen (79%) continue to work as NAs in Haiti and 5 (21%) have emigrated. In 2008, NAs were critical in providing anesthesia during a post-hurricane emergency where they performed 330 procedures. Mortality was 0.3% and not associated with lack of anesthesiologist supervision. The completion rate of this training program was high and the majority of graduates continue to work as nurse anesthetists in Haiti. Successful training requires a setting with a sufficient volume and diversity of operations, appropriate anesthesia equipment, a structured and comprehensive training program, and recognition of the training program by the national ministry of health and relevant professional bodies. Preliminary outcomes support findings elsewhere that NAs can be a safe and effective alternative where anesthesiologists are scarce. Training non-physician anesthetists is a feasible and important way to scale up surgical services resource limited settings.