Cross-sectional analysis tracking workforce density in surgery, anesthesia, and obstetrics as an indicator of progress toward improved global surgical access
Journal – International Journal of Surgery: Global Health
Article type – Journal research article – Clinical research
Publication date – Nov – 2020
Authors – Megan E. Bouchard, Jeanine Justiniano, Dominique Vervoort, Julian Gore-Booth, Adupa Emmanuel, Monica Langer
Keywords – global surgery, Surgical workforce density, Task shifting
Open access – Yes
Speciality – Anaesthesia, General surgery, Health policy, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
World region Global
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on November 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm
Introduction: Safe surgical care, including anesthesia, obstetrics, and trauma, is an essential component of a functional health system, yet is lacking in much of the world. One indicator of surgical access is the number of specialist surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians (SAO) per 100,000 population, but global progress reaching threshold SAO density (SAOD) is unknown. This study measured SAOD change/trajectory and highlighted components of workforce expansion.
Methods: SAOD in 2019 was captured utilizing publicly available medical licensing data for a convenience sample of 21 countries. Projected 2030 SAOD were estimated by extrapolating annual changes since 2015. Ugandan medical students were surveyed regarding postgraduate plans and SAO training availability. Workforce contribution by nonphysician surgical and anesthetic providers was measured in Sierra Leone.
Results: Three low-income countries (LICs), 4 lower middle-income countries (L-MICs), 7 upper middle-income countries (UMICs), and 7 high-income countries (HICs) were included. Overall SAOD increased since 2015. The average 2019 SAOD was 1.16±0.81 (LICs), 3.19±1.92 (L-MICs), 20.98±12.55 (UMICs), and 44.04±12.41 (HICs). The projected 2030 SAOD in LICs and L-MICs remains below 20. In Uganda, 144 specialist SAO training positions and practice preferences predict an inadequate future workforce. In Sierra Leone, nonphysician providers contributed a 6-fold increase in the surgical workforce, though remains inadequate.
Conclusions: Despite incremental positive changes since 2015, the current SAOD trajectory is inadequate to realize 2030 access goals. Increased training and retention of specialists and nonphysician providers are necessary to address this critical deficit.
OSI Number – 20782