Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A look at global surgery outreach needs in developing country med missions

Global surgery outreach needs are increasing in many countries, following the growing disparity between the rich and poor,even as developing nations become richer as a result of globalisation.
As household incomes increase in most cities, rural populations are often left out of the development process .Rural patients have to foot bigger medical bills in clinics and hospitals in nearby towns and cities.
Medical care has increased substantially even in the smaller towns and cities across developing countries. Patients are unable to afford specialist care in most private hospitals and have to borrow money for medical treatment. Since most of the poor in such countries are " cashless" anyway,the whole idea of demonetization of a poor region only adds to the untold miseries of most poor patients .
The recent months following demonetization shows an influx of poor and lower middle class patients in most mission  hospitals because the costs are lower for good medical and surgical attention.

"Never has there been a greater need in the lives of poor patients , and  mission hospitals across poor regions play a huge role in meeting health needs."

Most local mission hospitals across the world rely on surgery procedures to raise enough support for the monthly expenses; a reasonably effective surgery programme includes some of the following:

1. daily outpatient ,day care surgeries
2. surgery treatment packages for injurues,cosmetic procedures,piles,varicose veins, sterilizations and other common procedures in the region
3. Common surgical interventions for general, ob gynae and ortho surgery
4. weekly  community outreach surgical clinics in remote access villages
5. some specialist services in surgery if possible

Some common procedures one might encounter at such centres are:

1. Abdominal operations for  surgery and gynae
2. cesearean sections and tubal ligations
3. routine orthopaedic injuries
4. cleft and burns surgeries
5.trauma cases requiring immediate surgery

The logistical costs for such programmes are not very high, and most routine surgeries can be done on a medium sized budget .The returns from such investments are good and enable the mission unit to sustain itself in the long term and also purchase more hi tech equipment in the process.

In my years @ mission units across the world and following thousands of surgeries across many hospitals in the developing world , I have noticed that most of the common ailments present at mission clinics and hospitals and thousands of patients benefit from such services.
The cost of running such programmes for large catchment areas is reasonable and the services are appreciated by the populations that are being served by the mission.

What one has to keep in mind always is that " whatever is considered routine medical procedure in a well developed hospital elsewhere is often a nightmare in rural mission hospitals working in spartan environments".

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