Qualitative Analysis of the Host-Perceived Impact of Unidirectional Global Surgery Training in Kijabe, Kenya: Benefits, Challenges, and a Desire for Bidirectional Exchange

As globalization of surgical training increases, growing evidence demonstrates a positive impact of global surgery experiences on trainees from high-income countries (HIC). However, few studies have assessed the impact of these largely unidirectional experiences from the perspectives of host surgical personnel from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). This study aimed to assess the impact of unidirectional visitor involvement from the perspectives of host surgical personnel in Kijabe, Kenya.

Voluntary semi-structured interviews were conducted with 43 host surgical personnel at a tertiary referral hospital in Kijabe, Kenya. Qualitative analysis was used to identify salient and recurring themes related to host experiences with visiting surgical personnel. Perceived benefits and challenges of HIC involvement and host interest in bidirectional exchange were assessed.

Benefits of visitor involvement included positive learning experiences (95.3%), capacity building (83.7%), exposure to diverse practices and perspectives (74.4%), improved work ethic (51.2%), shared workload (44.2%), access to resources (41.9%), visitor contributions to patient care (41.9%), and mentorship opportunities (37.2%). Challenges included short stays (86.0%), visitor adaptation and integration (83.7%), cultural differences (67.4%), visitors with problematic behaviors (53.5%), learner saturation (34.9%), language barriers (32.6%), and perceived power imbalances between HIC and LMIC personnel (27.9%). Nearly half of host participants expressed concerns about the lack of balanced exchange between HIC and LMIC programs (48.8%). Almost all (96.9%) host trainees expressed interest in a bidirectional exchange program.

As the field of global surgery continues to evolve, further assessment and representation of host perspectives is necessary to identify and address challenges and promote equitable, mutually beneficial partnerships between surgical programs in HIC and LMIC.

Globalization of national surgical, obstetric and anesthesia plans: the critical link between health policy and action in global surgery

Efforts from the developed world to improve surgical, anesthesia and obstetric care in low- and middle-income countries have evolved from a primarily volunteer mission trip model to a sustainable health system strengthening approach as private and public stakeholders recognize the enormous health toll and financial burden of surgical disease. The National Surgical, Obstetric and Anesthesia Plan (NSOAP) has been developed as a policy strategy for countries to address, in part, the health burden of diseases amenable to surgical care, but these plans have not developed in isolation. The NSOAP has become a phenomenon of globalization as a broad range of partners – individuals and institutions – help in both NSOAP formulation, implementation and financing. As the nexus between policy and action in the field of global surgery, the NSOAP reflects a special commitment by state actors to make progress on global goals such as Universal Health Coverage and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This requires a continued global commitment involving genuine partnerships that embrace the collective strengths of both national and global actors to deliver sustained, safe and affordable high-quality surgical care for all poor, rural and marginalized people.