There are 10 hospitals with general surgery training programs in Guatemala. Of those 10 hospitals, only 3 are tertiary care hospitals, and all of these are located in Guatemala City. Two are part of the public health system and the other belongs to a semiprivate public health system. There are currently no colorectal training programs. If a Guatemalan surgeon wishes to pursue a career in coloproctology, he or she has to look for training opportunities abroad.
Chronic suppurative otitis media is a massive public health problem in numerous low- and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, few low- and middle-income countries can offer surgical therapy.A six-month long programme in Cambodia focused on training local surgeons in type I tympanoplasty was instigated. Qualitative educational and quantitative surgical outcomes were evaluated in the 12 months following programme completion. A four-month long training programme in mastoidectomy and homograft ossiculoplasty was subsequently implemented, and the preliminary surgical and educational outcomes were reported.A total of 124 patients underwent tympanoplasty by the locally trained surgeons. Tympanic membrane closure at six weeks post-operation was 88.5 per cent. Pure tone audiometry at three months showed that 80.9 per cent of patients had improved hearing, with a mean gain of 17.1 dB. The trained surgeons reported high confidence in performing tympanoplasty. Early outcomes suggest the local surgeons can perform mastoidectomy and ossiculoplasty as safely as overseas-trained surgeons, with reported surgeon confidence reflecting these positive outcomes.The training programme has demonstrated success, as measured by surgeon confidence and operative outcomes. This approach can be emulated in other settings to help combat the global burden of chronic suppurative otitis media.
The primary objective was to provide proof of concept of conducting thoracic surgical simulation in a low-middle income country. Secondary objectives were to accelerate general thoracic surgery skills acquisition by general surgery residents and sustain simulation surgery teaching through a website, simulation models, and teaching of local faculty.
Five training models were created for use in a low-middle income country setting and implemented during on-site courses with Rwandan general surgery residents. A website was created as a supplement to the on-site teaching. All participants completed a course knowledge assessment before and after the simulation and feedback/confidence surveys. Descriptive and univariate analyses were performed on participants’ responses.
Twenty-three participants completed the simulation course. Eight (35%) had previous training with the course models. All training levels were represented. Participants reported higher rates of meaningful confidence, defined as moderate to complete on a Likert scale, for all simulated thoracic procedures (p < 0.05). The overall mean knowledge assessment score improved from 42.5% presimulation to 78.6% postsimulation, (p < 0.0001). When stratified by procedure, the mean scores for each simulated procedure showed statistically significant improvement, except for ruptured diaphragm repair (p = 0.45).
General thoracic surgery simulation provides a practical, inexpensive, and expedited learning experience in settings lacking experienced faculty and fellowship training opportunities. Resident feedback showed enhanced confidence and knowledge of thoracic procedures suggesting simulation surgery could be an effective tool in expanding the resident knowledge base and preparedness for performing clinically needed thoracic procedures. Repeated skills exposure remains a challenge for achieving sustainable progress.
The unmet burden of surgical disease represents a major global health concern, and a lack of trained providers is a critical component of the inadequacy of surgical care worldwide. Competency-based training has been advanced in high-income countries, improving technical skills and decreasing training time, but it is poorly understood how this model might be applied to low- and middle-income countries. We describe the development of a competency-based program to accelerate specialty training of in-country providers in cleft surgery techniques.
The program was designed and piloted among eight trainees at five international cleft lip and palate surgical mission sites in Latin America and Africa. A competency-based evaluation form, designed for the program, was utilized to grade general technical and procedure-specific competencies, and pre- and post-training scores were analyzed using a paired t test.
Trainees demonstrated improvement in average procedure-specific competency scores for both lip repairs (60.4-71.0%, p < 0.01) and palate (50.6-66.0%, p < 0.01). General technical competency scores also improved (63.6-72.0%, p < 0.01). Among the procedural competencies assessed, surgical markings showed the greatest improvement (19.0 and 22.8% for lip and palate, respectively), followed by nasal floor/mucosal approximation (15.0%) and hard palate dissection (17.1%).
Surgical delivery models in LMICs are varied, and trade-offs often exist between goals of case throughput, quality and training. Pilot program results show that procedure-specific and general technical competencies can be improved over a relatively short time and demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating such a training program into surgical outreach missions.