"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"
One of my main interests is access to essential and emergency surgical services in low resource settings. Surgery constitutes around 7% – 15% of the global burden of surgical disease, yet receives almost no funding. One of the biggest problems is that there are no surgeons. One study by Ozgediz put the number of surgeons in Uganda at 1 : 35,000 population compared to 1: 450 – 600 in OECD countries.
This is a map of the world with countries proportional the the number of working doctors from World Mapper
Columbia University Department of Surgery recently published this blog about their programme allowing surgial residents to travel overseas to a wide variety of countries to experience surgical care in low resource environments. Having started from inauspicious beginnings in 2007 it is now a world leader. Importantly it encourages and supports the mutual exchange of experience as advocated in Lord Crisp’s book Turning the World Upside Down providing benefits to surgeons from both countries. The programme has been approved by the body that approves resident training in the US, which is a true testament of its value.
Unlike in the US, the Royal College of Surgeons of England has no such programme, and it is extremely difficult for UK surgical trainees to travel abroad to experience in a different environment without significant detriment to their training pathway. Things are improving and the RCSEng is putting on a conference in January on global surgery, however we in the UK have a long way to go to catch up with the programme set up by Columbia