Who benefits from reconstructive surgery in a resource poor country?
Disability in a resource poor country means destitution and marginalisation, perhaps even total exclusion from society, starvation and death.
Being given the opportunity to receive reconstructive surgery means that:
Children born with correctible deformities are not put out to die, but are accepted by their society and thrive.
People who have been the victims of trauma do not succumb to infection from open wounds, survive, walk and use their hands, can work again and support their children and elders.
People with cancer receive reconstructions instead of only ablations; an operation might be refused if the resulting defect is socially unacceptable or renders the patient unable to care for themselves. We can reconstruct them to a functional level, maintaining form and social acceptance.
What are the advantages to stakeholders of training surgeons in reconstructive surgery in resource poor countries?
there = resource-poor country,
here = UK
- Local access to appropriate medical treatment
- Able to provide for themselves and their families
- Social acceptance
- Surgeons and staff with broader clinical experience and skill set
- Knowledge of rare conditions now presenting more frequently here as more travel abroad
Surgeons (and other medical and paramedical staff) there
- Able to provide for their patients appropriately
Surgeons (and other medical and paramedical staff) here, who have been out
Respect for and knowledge of other cultures (you are a guest)
Highly developed clinical skills (have to rely more on clinical acumen there than costly investigations, which are not available)
Leadership and Team work (you may not know the rest of the team, but have to make it work from Day 1, and maintain it for two weeks)
Better knowledge – able to diagnose a diseases which are less common in the UK, but much more commonly seen abroad
Wider knowledge – management of familiar conditions needs to adapt to local conditions: more frequent dressing changes in hot humid climate
Experience in more complex clinical problems (disease progresses further without treatment in resource-poor countries, due to lack of available treatment)
Better lateral thinking (you may not have exactly what you need to treat your patients abroad, but you have to make it work, with what you have)
Better outcomes (no second chances for patients there, so your solutions and surgery has to be perfect)
Better teachers (the ultimate test of your teaching skills is whether your student becomes independent)
- Availability of appropriate care for local population
- Possibility of improvement in equipment and staffing levels and training
- Potential to become national centres for reconstructive surgery with added income
- Better trained staff
- Better teams/team work
- Staff pride and sense of achievement
- Point of focus
- Prestige for facilitating international education and aid
- Opportunities for trainees – distinct role in team, links with overseas trainees and shared online teaching opportunities
Nation / economy there
- Better work force (people who could not work before because of their injuries can now work)
- Enhanced reputation
- Potential increased income and better economy
Nation / economy here
- The more developing countries can become self- sufficient in medical care, the less we need to give
- Staff benefits in hospitals (as above)
- Raising charitable profile of company (list order change)
- Donors who originate from the countries in question have the opportunity to give something back to their country of origin, which will lead to better living conditions there and better medical treatment, delivered locally
- Feel good factor
- In-country companies will have specialist medical treatment available locally, rather than having to expensively repatriate their workers (list order change)
- Tax deductible donations