The 2015 Lancet Commission on Global Surgery’s seminal work on surgical care in resource-poor settings identified several key themes related to surgical care in low- and middle-income countries. However, this report did not directly address deficits in pediatric surgical care. In many low- and middle-income countries, patients less than 15 years old comprise nearly 50% of the population, therefore, addressing the pediatric population is essential (Ozgediz et al, Toobaie et al, Bickler et al).
Among the themes related to surgical care in low- and middle-income countries, the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery found that: a) nearly three-quarters of the earth’s population (or 5 billion persons) has no easy access to basic surgical care; b) major obstacles to obtaining surgical care lie not only in a lack of surgical providers and healthcare systems, but also the crippling out-of-pocket costs of seeking care (travel and lost wages) and paying for medical services (direct healthcare costs); and c) investment in safe delivery of surgical and anesthesia services as a cost-effective means toward improving health and reducing healthcare inequalities worldwide.
Because many low- and middle-income countries have high proportion of the population less than 15 years old, our project seeks to address pediatric surgical needs that are not currently being met. Improving pediatric surgical health care delivery and reducing inequalities in low- and middle-income country settings necessitates a multifaceted approach. This project focuses on leveraging the expertise of a wide range of UB faculty to provide both theoretical and hands-on assistance in improving health care in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s least-developed and poorest countries, and one with a large pediatric population with unmet surgical needs.
This project will address the gross disparity in access to pediatric surgical services through a traditional Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) approach. The first part of the project will involve a global needs assessment to enhance the teams’ knowledge of available medical resources as well as geographic or other barriers in accessing care. The second part of the project will work towards centralization of care such that the highest quality care and resources are made accessible to the largest number of people. The third part of the study will focus on building local, sustainable capacity to address the pediatric surgical needs in the DRC through education and collaboration.
Some additional research questions this team is considering
Kalisya LM, Bake JF, Bigabwa R, Rothstein DH, Cairo SB. Operations for Suspected Neoplasms in a Resource-Limited Setting: Experience and Challenges in the Eastern Democratic of Congo. World J Surg. 2017 Dec 31. doi:10.1007/s00268-017-4452-2. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29290072.
Cairo SB, Agyei J, Nyavandu K, Rothstein DH, Kalisya LM. Neurosurgical management of hydrocephalus by a general surgeon in an extremely low resource setting: initial experience in North Kivu province of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Pediatr Surg Int. 2018 Feb 16. doi: 10.1007/s00383-018-4238-0. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29453580.
Cairo SB, Kalisya LM, Bigabwa R, Rothstein DH. Characterizing pediatric surgical capacity in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo: results of a pilot study. Pediatr Surg Int. 2017 Nov 20. doi: 10.1007/s00383-017-4215-z. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29159423.
The team includes a wide variety of individuals with experience both in surgical outcomes research methodology, the practice of global medicine, and knowledge in Congo-specific medical and surgical infrastructure. The particular strengths of the assembled team lie in its ability to integrate the problems of access to pediatric surgical care on the global scale and the minute scale, both in an academic and practical sense. In addition, it is well poised to strengthen affiliations at the local level (engaging with Buffalo’s Congolese Diaspora and working in a provincial eastern Congolese hospital) and at the national level (through SUNY Buffalo contacts and with the Congolese Ministry of Health).
Founder and Chief Medical Officer
Jericho Road Community Health Center
Clinical Research Coordinator
Equivalent of a U.S. county hospital, and serves as the referral center for patients from the rest of the province (estimated population, 5.8 million, 2010).
Equivalent of a U.S. county hospital, and serves as the referral center for patients from the rest of the province (estimated population, 5.7 million, 2015).